JIS News

Minister of Education, Youth and Culture, Maxine Henry-Wilson has commended the contributions of the New Horizon for Primary Schools projects and the Jamaica Library Service (JLS), toward the improvement of literacy levels in schools across the island.
In making her contribution to the Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday (May 10), she informed that students, teachers, parents and other educators had benefited from the project as well as from the JLS’ bid to improve and promote literacy among schools with its Information and Communication Technology (ICT) services. “The New Horizon Schools project is a holistic intervention in 72 schools that has confirmed and re-affirmed that through collective focus and innovative leadership, we can raise the bar of achievement,” the Education Minister noted. She explained that literacy levels in those primary schools had in some cases moved from a low of 16 per cent to a high of 50 per cent and that Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) results for those schools had also trended up.
Minister Henry-Wilson noted that with the lessons learnt from the project the Ministry would be looking to implement the programme in the more than 700 remaining schools. “With the collaboration of partners such as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the lessons learnt from the New Horizon for Primary Schools we will be looking at how we can institutionalise this in the remaining 733 schools as it moves from the project to programme,” she stated.
In praising the JLS for its contribution, the Minister said “I would like to acknowledge the significant contribution of the JLS in its bid to promote literacy and improve quality among schools through its varied services including ICT services and reading programmes”.
The Education Minister informed that the JLS was strengthening its capacity to support E-learning and E-Commerce, noting that the company was the nation’s largest provider of Internet access to the public. “Of the 93 libraries offering the ICT services, internet access is available at 86 locations,” she informed, pointing out that this had resulted in greater facilitation of access to users island wide. Mrs. Henry-Wilson also said that at many libraries the use of ICT services was one of the primary sources available for students to prepare their School Based Assessment (SBA) projects. An additional initiative of the JLS that was commended by the Education Minister was its renewal of the JLS national reading competition. “The seventeenth renewal of the JLS national reading competition saw unprecedented success, we thank the major sponsors for 2004, Kingston Bookshop, Televison Jamaica Limited and Cable and Wireless Foundation” she stated.
Mrs. Henry-Wilson also highlighted service to the visually impaired in two parish networks and to three correctional institutions, which continued during the 2004/2005 fiscal year. She noted as well that, “plans are far advanced to broaden the outreach to all networks”.
She also informed that maximum efficiencies in communication to impact sharing and relaying information for clients’ reference and research needs and for administrative purposes, was expected from the implementation of a Local Area Network (LAN) as a precursor to a Wide Area Network from the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) fund. Minister Henry-Wilson made note of the successful implementation of the recovery process to repair libraries damaged by Hurricane Ivan in September 2004 and informed that through the provision of additional funding, the JLS would be making a special thrust to improve school libraries.

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