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Story Highlights

  • Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites says the country is on track to achieve the target of 100 per cent literacy at the primary level by 2015.
  • He pointed out that while the nation’s girls are leading towards this goal, the boys are lagging behind.
  • He informed that 12 other literacy specialist have also been assigned to 48 secondary schools to provide support in the teaching of English Language at Grades 7 to 9.

Minister of Education, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites says the country is on track to achieve the target of 100 per cent literacy at the primary level by 2015.

The Minister made the revelation during his contribution to the 2014/15 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, May 7.

He pointed out that while the nation’s girls are leading towards this goal, the boys are lagging behind.

To this end, he said several interventions have been designed to improve literacy, including the deployment of 90 reading coaches at Grades 1 to 3 in 450 primary schools.

He informed that 12 other literacy specialist have also been assigned to 48 secondary schools to provide support in the teaching of English Language at Grades 7 to 9.

“Between August 2013 and April 2014 approximately 1,500 teachers across the system benefitted from training by the team of reading coaches or specialists,” he said.

Rev. Thwaites said the Ministry also engaged more than 1,300 parents in seminars designed to equip them with skills to enable them to better assist in the literacy/language development of their children.

In the meantime, he said the Ministry has this year allocated an additional $390 million to expand the mathematics programme, and is targeting an 85 per cent proficiency in numeracy at Grade 4 by 2018.

He informed that at Grade 11, the Ministry is setting a target of 85 per cent of the age cohort to sit the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations in mathematics by 2017.

“We are far off track to meet the national target of 85 per cent proficiency at Grade 4 by 2015,” he said, adding that the Ministry restructured the National Mathematics Programme to make the mathematics success of every student a non-negotiable priority.

He informed that in September of this year, the Ministry will deploy 146 Mathematics coaches to primary and secondary schools. They will be charged with raising teaching standards and student achievement in the subject.

In addition, he said teachers in targeted schools will be given access to an online training programme, designed to strengthen their content knowledge.

Rev. Thwaites said the implementation of the mathematics programme also includes the training and sensitisation of principals and heads of departments by the National College for Educational Leadership. The training will focus on teachers taking responsibility for ensuring student achievement in this subject at their schools.

“At great expense, the Ministry of Education is upgrading its teachers. The outcomes should be commensurate with the investment. The quality of teaching and learning in these two core subjects must be improved,” he said.