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  • Minister of Education, Youth and Culture, Maxine Henry Wilson has said that yesterday's launch of the 'Litkids Literary Competition 2003', another aspect of the Primary Education Support Project (PESP), was a part of the Ministry's attempt to
  • Speaking at the launch, which was held at the Ministry's Heroes Circle headquarters, Mrs. Henry Wilson said that significant strides had been made in terms of student assessment over the last two years, and that it was evident that there had been improvements in acquiring the art and skill of reading at the primary level, although the Ministry recognized that there was much more to be done.
  • She added that it was very important that students did not see reading as a chore, but as a source of enjoyment, and a part of their lifestyle.

Minister of Education, Youth and Culture, Maxine Henry Wilson has said that yesterday’s launch of the ‘Litkids Literary Competition 2003’, another aspect of the Primary Education Support Project (PESP), was a part of the Ministry’s attempt to “institutionalize the yearning for reading,”

Speaking at the launch, which was held at the Ministry’s Heroes Circle headquarters, Mrs. Henry Wilson said that significant strides had been made in terms of student assessment over the last two years, and that it was evident that there had been improvements in acquiring the art and skill of reading at the primary level, although the Ministry recognized that there was much more to be done.

She added that it was very important that students did not see reading as a chore, but as a source of enjoyment, and a part of their lifestyle. “To do this, not only must we make them see it as interesting and relevant, and not just an activity for nerds, but that in the same way that they warm towards and see as an indispensable part of their day, dancehall, we want them to see learning through reading as an indispensable part of their day, something that they do as they breathe”, said Mrs. Wilson.
The Education Minister pointed out that there was nothing to stimulate a child’s creativity and interest like a competition, “for them to see that they can achieve something at the end of the day”.

Materials Development Officer for the PESP, Dolcie Townsend said the objective of the competition was to stimulate interest in the acquisition of relevant and necessary literacy skills among children in grades one to three, as well as to garner public support for the literacy initiatives being implemented by the PESP.
“Through the Litkids Competition, it is hoped that students will develop an interest in wanting to build and showcase their literacy skills, through exposure of the content delivered via the revised primary curriculum,” the Development Officer explained. The competition is also geared at informing and soliciting parental support and public interest, and awareness for the Ministry’s Literacy Intervention Strategies.
The competition, which will run from April 1 to June 30, will be staged over three years with the focus on grades one, two and three for each year, respectively.

Mrs. Townsend explained that the activity was “designed to encourage and create thoughts within our children and to stimulate their interpretation of what has been taught to them over the term.these children are at a stage where emergent literacy is the name of the game”. The competition is open to all primary level students island wide including independent schools, and students will be judged based on the understanding and interpretation of activities, a written story relevant to specified topics, as well as a drawing with relevance to given topics. The National Champion will receive a trophy from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture, cash award of $10,000 from Victoria Mutual Building Society (VMBS), a vacation for a family of four from Sandals Resorts International to be used at any Beaches Resorts in Jamaica, and a computer from SSP Aptec Limited.

Meanwhile, for second place, the student will receive a trophy from Radio Jamaica – RJR 94 FM, cash award of $7,500 from VMBS, Supplementary Readers from Carlong Publishers, and a computer from Digital Transtec Limited. The third placed student will receive a trophy from the Gleaner Company Limited, a cash award of $5,000 from VMBS, Supplementary Readers from Carlong Publishers, and a computer from Debry Limited. The winner of the Independent Schools section will receive a vacation for a family of four at Sandcastles, Ocho Rios.

The competition is part of the wider Literacy Intervention Strategy, which the Ministry said is committed to doing all that was possible to assist the development of a ‘systematic early literacy programme’.
The intervention strategy is to be used in the special time slots referred to as ‘language arts windows’, for the development of literacy skills as intended in the Ministry’s Revised Primary Curriculum. The units for grades one to three were arranged to provide foundation for learning and in the curriculum, attainment targets and objectives for language arts were included to ensure a structured approach to the development of literacy skills.

The Ministry, through the PESP has taken a three-pronged approach to improving the standard of the country’s education system. These initiatives include, quality assurance, which speaks to how the quality of schools will be improved through the Revised Primary Curriculum, the development of a specific method of teaching literacy and further refinements in the NAP; institutional development, which entails improving the management of what is delivered, a focus which will be largely centred on the training of personnel; and the improvement and development of the physical plant. Project Manager for the PESP, Jean Hastings said this component initially involved 12 schools. She disclosed that two new schools would be built, in Ocho Rios, St. Ann and Hellshire, St. Catherine, respectively.