JIS News

The Ministry of Education has been working to enhance the reading skills of students through its literacy programmes.
As set out in a Ministry Paper tabled in the House of Representatives on May 20 by the Minister of Education, Andrew Holness, the literacy development component of the Primary Education Support Project (PESP) will be enhanced by the provision of 3,920 desk-top easels to support the use of shared reading, and 800 compact disc (CDs) players to support the audio CDs, which are to be provided.
The literacy element of the Expanding Educational Horizons (EEH) Project, aimed at raising the literacy level of Grades One to Four students within 71 primary schools across Jamaica, currently has nine literacy resource specialists, two literacy specialists and one literacy consultant, who work closely with the schools to offer guided practice to both classroom teachers and students.
The literacy specialists have produced two mini guides aimed at providing teachers with strategies and activities in the teaching of comprehension and reading fluency. Another mini guide, focused on the teaching of writing, is currently being written.
Additionally, the Grade Four Literacy intervention has proven to be very useful in increasing the maximizing the annual proportion of students assessed as literate. In the 2007 intervention, the level of mastery moved up from 65 per cent in the pre-test to 79 per cent and in the post-test, an increase of 14 per cent was seen.
The Inner City Schools Improvement Programme has also had several achievements. The programme is designed to address critical gaps in schools’ overall performance, infrastructure and operations. It proposes a broad outline of interventions to address the problems being experienced in 23 schools in inner city communities.
To date, the project has proven to motivate and encourage ownership and participation among stakeholders and has contributed to significant improvement in the morale and performance of the 23 schools. There has also been a reduction in student aggression, violence and vandalism in the schools and improvement in attendance as high as 98 to 100 per cent in some cases.
These results have brought improvement in literacy at Grade Four, Grade Six and Grade Nine Achievement Test scores, and internal and external examinations.