A new Enrichment Room established at a cost of $6.1million and designed as a reading and mathematics resource centre to boost students’ learning at the New Hope Primary and Junior High School, Whitehouse, Westmoreland was officially opened Thursday (September 23). The facility, which was set up through the joint efforts of the Ministry of Education and the Digicel Foundation, is expected to benefit the student population of approximately 1,030.
The learning facility, the third completed of 12 being established islandwide, was designed and equipped with human and technological resources, to ensure that whatever intervention is done is of the highest quality. There are eight computers, inclusive of three lap tops, a multi-media projector, mini interactive board and television/DVD, as well as related instruments and teaching gadgets in the Enrichment Room.
According to the Principal, Monica Foster, students in Grades 3 to 6 have already been scheduled to begin specialized classes, ensuring that they receive moderate to intensive remediation in reading and mathematics.
She said that the Enrichment Room is a “dream come through” for the school community.
Students at the New Hope Primary and Junior High School in Whitehouse, Westmoreland working on reading activities in the new Enhancement Centre at the school established by the Ministry of Education and Digicel Foundation at a cost of $6.1 million. Parents and teachers look on. Occasion was the official opening on Thursday (September 23)
“I want to express heartfelt thanks to these our partners and pledge, as teachers, that we will use the facility to the max,” she said.
She assured that the entire community will care and protect the centre, and will not allow any of the children to fall through the cracks.
Education Officer Leonie Dunwell, read an address from Enrichment Initiative Coordinator in the Education Transformation Project of the Ministry of Education, Dr. Michele Meredith, stating that students identified as reading below their age and grade levels, must be given every chance to master the difficulty.
“Teachers in the Enrichment Centres are given additional skills to help them work with children in the programme but, in order to succeed, there is need for the involvement of home and school, in partnership, to ensure that each child gets the necessary help to improve,” she said.
She said that at the end of the first year of the programme, the Ministry is already seeing significant progress in reading skills for students placed in the centres.
“More specifically, we have seen students who were non-readers at the beginning of the school year, actually reading at Grades 1, 2 and even Grade 3 at the end of the year,” Dr. Meredith noted.
She encouraged students to make the best use of the resource centre, to work hard and to do their best. She also called on parents to do their part in the continued educational development of the children.
“Parents, please understand that the success of your child rests largely with you. They may be in school for most of the day, but your support is vital. Encourage them. Work with the teachers to move your children along, celebrate with them when they improve, and when and if you can, encourage and help another parent,” Dr. Meredith urged.
Executive Director of the Digicel Foundation, Major General Robert Neish, said that the Foundation had launched out on a mission to attack illiteracy in Jamaica by way of enrichment centres, and great progress was being made.
He said that Digicel is committed to rolling out the Enrichment Centres in primary, all-age and junior high schools, adding that he felt “renewed strength and renewed energy” from the demonstrations of appreciation from everyone present.
“Wherever the problem of illiteracy exists in Jamaica, we are committed to ensuring that it is dealt with and eliminated, so our children can enjoy their education and reach for the stars. I therefore call on all citizens, teachers and children to look after the facility, benefit from it and let us together make Jamaica great.” Major Neish emphasized.