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Eight more corporate area schools are to benefit from the Reading for Educational Achievement and Development Programme (READ), which is aimed at improving the reading and comprehension skills of basic school students in inner-city communities.
Barita Education Foundation, which is the local implementing agency for the programme, has partnered with Digicel Foundation to expand the reach of the initiative, which is in place in 18 inner-city schools.
Speaking at the launch of the partnership at the Christ Church Basic School in Vineyard Town, Kingston, yesterday (March 12), Board Director of the Barita Education Foundation, Marie Hitchins, said that due to the success of the programme, a number of corporate bodies have approached Barita “with a view to providing additional support through active partnerships.”

Executive Director of Digicel Foundation, Major General Robert Neish (right) and Chairperson of Digicel Foundation, Lisa Lewis (centre) listen keenly as widower of Lakeisha Williams, Marlon Williams, makes a point, while holding his daughter, Gabrielle. Occasion was the official launch of an education partnership between Digicel Foundation and Barita Education Foundation and the renaming of eight resource centres in honour of the late Mrs. Williams, who was Administrator of the Barita Education Foundation. The function was held at Christ Church Basic School in Vineyard Town, Kingston on March 12.

She explained that under this newest joint venture, Barita would focus on the training of teachers, while Digicel Foundation would fund the construction of resource centres and the refurbishing of other areas as needed, in addition to paying the salaries of four to eight teachers.
In his remarks, Executive Director of Digicel Foundation, Major General Robert Neish, said that the Foundation was proud of the partnership, noting that literacy was not just the Ministry of Education’s responsibility. “It is everybody’s responsibility and we, as private non-profit organisations, play a significant role in helping to provide financial, infrastructural, technical and educational support to these schools that are faced with literacy challenges,” he stated.
He said that eliminating literacy at this early stage would remove the embarrassment, stigma and frustration that illiterate young people feel.

Chairperson of Digicel Foundation, Lisa Lewis (right) and Chairperson of Barita Education Foundation, Rita Humphries-Lewin, look on as widower of Lakeisha Williams, Marlon Williams, unveils a plaque to officailly rename eight resource centres in honour of Mrs. Williams, who was Administrator of the Barita Education Foundation. The function was held at Christ Church Basic School in Vineyard Town in Kingston on March 12.

First introduced at the St. Martin de Porres Schools in Gordon Town some 10 years ago, READ uses a comprehensive strategy in training teachers on best teaching practices so that they can help improve performance in basic schools.
It is a balanced and integrated language arts programme incorporating and consolidating the elements of listening, speaking, reading, writing and comprehension. It uses carefully sequenced, systematic phonetic instruction to build fluent independent readers.
At the launch, the eight resource centres were renamed in memory of the late Administrator of the Barita Education Foundation, Lakeisha Williams, who played an integral role in the implementation and execution of the READ programme.

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