Over 250 books were delivered to the Buxton and Friendship Primary schools and Buxton Community High School each following a meeting between President Bharrat Jagdeo and community leaders about illiteracy in East Coast communities.
According to a Government Information Agency (GINA) press release the books were given to the head teachers and staff of the schools. Each school received a total of 250 books with a range of 24 to 1000 words and were graded according to the pupils’ ability to read and recognise words.
Head of the Learning Resource and Development Unit, National Centre for Education Research Development (NCERD) Rajwantie Permaul handed over the items on Thursday, in the presence of Pastor Kwame Gilbert from the Community Development Unit of the Office of the President. Head of the Social Studies Department at the Buxton Community High School Handel Moses, Head Teacher of Friendship Primary Leslie Luke and Head Teacher of the Buxton Primary School Ann Mc Caddy accepted the donations for their respective schools. Moses, who has been a teacher for 36 years, said he has been a strong advocate for the improvement of literacy in the school. He pledged to ensure that his school’s library is rejuvenated and that parents become involved in their children’s education. Moses said parents’ failure to make education a priority for their children has contributed greatly to illiteracy in the village.
According to GINA the initiative will be taken to schools countrywide in order to create a culture of reading. Pastor Gilbert said reports from the Ministry of Education and accounts from some teachers have revealed that books are underutilised. GINA said the ministry’s strategic plan 2008-2013 has included strengthening a culture of reading among school-aged children among its priorities. The ministry is also in the process of resuscitating school libraries and promoting reading corners in each classroom. Also, NCERD has embarked on a number of literacy and numeracy programmes targeting out of school youths, adults and parents.
GINA said about 250 teacher/librarians were trained from five regions with the expectation that they will promote reading in schools. The ministry has also distributed over five million literacy books and teachers have been encouraged to give each child at least one book to take home, read and return as part of a story-telling exercise.