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Story Highlights

  • The Ministry of Education is at an advanced stage in recruiting 90 reading coaches.
  • They will be deployed to assist teachers in the poorest performing primary and all-age schools across the island.
  • Minister Thwaites said that the recruitment of the reading coaches will assist in improving literacy in boys.

The Ministry of Education is at an advanced stage in recruiting 90 reading coaches, who will be deployed to assist teachers in the poorest performing primary and all-age schools across the island.

Portfolio Minister, Hon. Rev. Ronald Thwaites, made the disclosure at an awards luncheon for teachers held on October 25, at the Jamaica Observer headquarters in Kingston.

The placement of reading coaches in schools is part of measures by the Education Ministry to lift literacy standards, and achieve 85 per cent mastery among grade four students by 2015. Already, the number of literacy specialists has been increased to include nine regional coordinators.

Minister Thwaites said that the recruitment of the reading coaches, which is being supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)will assist in improving literacy in boys.

He pointed out that while major achievement has being made in the mastery of literacy at the grade four level, the results from the nation’s boys are still behind that of the girls.

“The level for the girls is very high but the boys are not at that level at all…what we are going to have to do, is to bring the level of male achievement to equal that of the females,” he said.

The results from the Grade Four Literacy Test, administered in June this year, showed 76 per cent mastery by the age cohort, which is nine percentage points below the target for 2015.

The Education Minister noted that while progress is being made in literacy, students are not doing as well in numeracy, achieving only 59 per cent mastery in the Grade Four Numeracy Test.

As part of efforts to address this issue, mathematics resource teachers, who can provide support to teachers at the primary level, will be identified and deployed in order to strengthen capacity to effectively deliver the curriculum.

The special luncheon honoured approximately 22 teachers from the Eastern Region, who have assisted with the production and sales of the Jamaica Observer’s educational publications.

The teachers have actively employed the use of the newspaper’s products, such as the weekly Study Centre and TEENage magazine, to aid in their students’ education.

Jessie Ripoll Primary School copped the Top Primary School award, while Oberlin High School received the Top High School award.