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The Ministry of Education will be investing $5 million this fiscal year, in improving literacy and numeracy in targeted schools.
Under its Expanding Education Horizons Project, the Ministry will also seek to enhance the quality of interventions for out-of-school youth and increase stakeholder support. The project will receive budgetary support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Gains made under the project, so far, include the graduation of 62 of the 71 schools from the programme, based on student performance and instructional leadership practices.
With regard to the literacy component, teachers and resource specialists were trained; classroom libraries and reading corners established; literacy interventions were also carried out by 6 Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) targeting out-of-school youth; the General Achievement in Numeracy (GAIN) test for Grade 4 was developed; technical support was given to all schools by Numeracy Resource Project Specialists; and mathematics libraries were established in participating schools.
The programme has also seen strides made in incorporating the use of technology in learning, addressing gender issues as they relate to learning and addressing literacy and numeracy issues in 6 non-project secondary schools.
Among the physical targets anticipated for this year is the completion and dissemination of two mini-guides focussing on the teaching of spelling and lesson planning. The programme will also continue clinical support to schools, conduct training in literacy strategies, prepare electronic portfolios on effective strategies in the targeted schools and conduct a survey on the use of numeracy software, measurement activities and mental computations.
This year personnel assigned to the programme will also assist the Ministry of Education in administering the Grade 4 Mathematics Test to students in all primary schools in Jamaica. Another of the objectives is the intensification of intervention in the remaining nine schools not yet graduated.
The project is slated to be completed in September.

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