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The Ministry of Education’s target of 100 per cent competence in literacy and numeracy in primary and secondary schools, could be significantly boosted by the Fun 4 Kidz/Sanya Richards Fast Track After School Programme in Jamaica.
The brainchild of American Educator, Andrew Post, with significant input from Jamaican-born American 400 metres runner, Sanya Richards, the programme incorporates academics and extra-curricular activities, designed to strengthen the literacy and numeracy skills of students wherever weaknesses are identified.
Fun 4 Kidz was undertaken as a pilot project in two phases at the Kingston High School, downtown Kingston, starting in February, 2008 and culminating on Thursday (March 19).
Addressing a brief closing ceremony at the school on Thursday (March 19), Mr. Post noted significant improvements in the academic levels of the 130 students who participated in the two phases, particularly in literacy.
He explained that the pilot programme was initiated, consequent on discussions with Education Minister, Andrew Holness, in November 2007, which coincided with the Minister’s primary objective of reaching 100 per cent literacy and numeracy.
“Through sponsorships, primarily from Sanya Richards, Air Jamaica, (and) Digicel, Fun 4 Kidz piloted an eight-week version of the after school programme with 55 students. Our staff (subsequently) crunched numbers to find a programme attendance rate of 51 per cent, and the student literacy rate of an average of between one and two grades higher than at the beginning of the programme,” he said.
Mr. Post said that following a review of the initial phase and refinement of the deliverables, the second leg of the pilot was undertaken in October, 2008 with 75 students, and culminated on Thursday
“After another few visits, we witnessed our programme’s daily attendance rate rise to over 80 per cent,” he said.
“Although our final academic data for this year are now being calculated, our teachers and our observations suggest that we are poised to exceed last year’s success,” he added.
In light of this success, and with the promise of continued support for the programme by Sanya Richards, Air Jamaica, Digicel, the Ministry of Education, and other key stakeholders, he said that hopes for the growth and success of the programme continue to soar.
“As this occurs, we hope to include additional partners in this outstanding endeavour. We will turn to Jamaican business interests and to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), as well as the United States Embassy, to help bolster this programme (so) that, while meeting the Minister’s objectives, our educational plans, coupled with the resources available both on the island and abroad, will be the recipe for educational success (in Jamaica),” Mr. Post said.
In a brief address, Special Advisor to the Minister, Robert Miller, said that the decision to undertake the pilots at Kingston High was consistent with the Ministry’s objective regarding attainment of 100 per cent competence in literacy and numeracy among the students.
“It is only when our population is literate and numerate that Jamaica will be the place for us to live, work, and play,” Mr. Miller said.
Principal of Kingston High, Charles Reid, described the Fun 4 Kidz programme as a welcomed addition to the school’s efforts to enhance literacy and mould children into better persons.

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