JIS News

The Ministry of Education is embarking on a national campaign to raise the importance and awareness of improving students’ literacy skills.
As part of this campaign, parents are being encouraged to play a greater role in developing reading habits in their children from an early age.
“We have to get them (parents) back to the point where they read with their child. So, family literacy is going to be a major part of our national thrust in developing literacy in our children,” the Minister said, as he addressed the Caribbean Centre of Excellence for Teacher Training (C-CETT) awards ceremony held yesterday (Oct. 21) at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston.
He noted that while other interactive media such as the television play a role, parents must get “back to this understanding that there is no substitute for reading to your child.”
“I don’t see young mothers and fathers reading to their children,” Mr. Holness lamented. “It is as if we have now taken it for granted that our children will develop the reading skills naturally, but reading, of course, is not a naturally occurring phenomenon. You have to develop the skill of reading,” he noted.
He said that the Ministry is getting ready to expand the provision of reading material for children. “The moment we get our children reading, we are going to have to find books for them, so we are preparing at the Ministry to expand the provision of books for our children at the earlier levels so that they (have a wider variety they) can read,” he informed.
In the meantime, he said that the Government is “very impressed” with the results of the C-CETT programme as it fits in neatly with the policy framework, which the Ministry is now pursuing.
The C-CETT Western Caribbean Awards of Excellence ceremony was held to recognise teachers and principals, who were involved in the seven-year literacy project conducted by the C-CETT at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona.
The C-CETT was one of three centres established in Latin America and the Caribbean under the Summit of the Americas activities and was an initiative of former United States (US) President George W. Bush.
The project was funded by the US Government through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and executed by the Joint Board of Teacher Education, Mona and the Joint Board of Teacher Education, Cave Hill, with the goal of fostering innovative leadership to strengthen reading instruction and increase the reading skills of primary school students.
The project aimed to encourage the development of a culture that inspires children to “read to learn” as it also helps them “learn to read.”
The project has provided services to six Caribbean countries – Belize, Dominica, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

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