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  • Today, Tuesday, September 8, 2015, Jamaica joins the rest of the world in celebrating an important day on the worldwide calendar: International Literacy Day 2015.
  • This has been celebrated annually since 1966.
  • Jamaica has much to celebrate in the area of literacy. The country has exceeded the target of 85 per cent literacy at the primary level for 2015.

Today, Tuesday, September 8, 2015, Jamaica joins the rest of the world in celebrating an important day on the worldwide calendar: International Literacy Day 2015. This has been celebrated annually since 1966.

 

Jamaica has much to celebrate in the area of literacy. The country has exceeded the target of 85 per cent literacy at the primary level for 2015. In fact, the 2015 Grade Four cohort attained 86.5 per cent mastery on the Grade Four Literacy Test.

 

The several interventions, under the Ministry of Education’s National Comprehensive Literacy Programme were designed to improve literacy, and so they have! The sustained work of the National Literacy Team and the deployment of 90 reading coaches at grades one to three in 450 primary schools over the last two years, through the assistance of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), have reaped success for Jamaica.  For this we are very proud.

 

Twelve other literacy specialists engaged through the Education Systems Transformation Programme were also assigned to an additional 120 primary schools and 48 secondary schools to provide support in the teaching of literacy and language arts as well as English Language at grades seven to nine. Over the past five years, thousands of classroom teachers have benefitted from training offered by the reading coaches and specialists. The Ministry of Education also engaged more than 3000 parents in seminars designed to equip them with skills to assist in the literacy and language development of their children.

 

Jamaica’s focus on literacy development from a multifaceted and holistic approach which involves children, the family, the community and the schools, is in tandem with this year’s theme for International Literacy Day: “Literacy and Sustainable Society.” We should not forget that literacy is more than reading and writing; literacy is the power to see the world from different perspectives; it is the inestimable facility to read the text and read the world. Everybody can become literate; there is a programme for everyone.

 

Research has shown that when citizens of a country are literate, it places the country in a better position to meet complex social issues. There is also empirical evidence that there is a positive correlation between strong literacy skills and the overall health and standard of living of citizens of a country. A highly literate nation is filled with people who are strategic, empathetic, critical and tolerant. These are the qualities that citizens need to embody in order to ensure the economic and social development of a country. Literate citizens understand cause and effect relationships so they recycle, remain calm during high stress situations and find humour and lessons in varying contexts. Simply put, literacy makes human beings better.

 

Today, on International Literacy Day, I urge all stakeholders to continue to sustain and advance their commitment to the promotion of national and global literacy so that our country will continue to grow in all positive respects. The Ministry salutes all school principals and teachers for the commitment and industry devoted this year to attaining Jamaica’s 2015 target. I offer commendations to the parents for caring for their children, and for ensuring that they never lose sight of the value of education.

 

I, especially, congratulate all of our students who sat the Grade Four Literacy Test this year and did their best. To every citizen, social, and corporate entity that provide opportunities for literacy development across Jamaica Land We Love, thank you. Together, we celebrate our achievement, and continue to work, to sustain the gains we have made, to ultimately achieve the goal of a fully literate and empowered society.