Rural Express: Rise in literacy level among grade-four students
Regional director at the Ministry of Education Nadine Leachman has confirmed that literacy levels among grade-four students in the primary and all-age schools have been seeing an incremental increase for more than a decade now.
Leachman said literacy among grade-four students had jumped from 43.3 per cent in 2001 to 77.4 per cent in 2014. Armed with statistical data, Leachman stated that there had also been an increase in numeracy skills among the same set of students, moving from 38 per cent in 2010 to 58 per cent in 2014.
"We are all aware that numeracy and literacy are two critical components of the building of any nation," Leachman said.
She made the announcements while addressing teachers, students and parents during a First Global Bank-Ministry of Education-pioneered initiative dubbed 'Literacy Day', which was held recently in 12 schools across St James, Manchester, and Kingston.
Literacy Day forms part of the First Global Bank-Ministry of Education (FGB-MOE) Music, Perfect Pitch for a Sound Education programme, which is being administered in 12 schools in St James, Manchester, and Kingston. The project started in six schools in October 2011 and has since been expanded.
Literacy Day sees the entire population of each school devoting a portion of the day for students to celebrate and demonstrate to parents and guests how the music programme has been enhancing their literacy and numeracy development over the preceding months.
But in the midst of Leachman's pronouncement, what came as welcome news was her affirmation that much of the students' sustained increase in numeracy and literacy skills between 2010 and 2014 could be accredited to the FGB-MOE music programme.
"We welcome this initiative by First Global Bank as it serves to enhance and complement those being undertaken by the Ministry of Education in an effort to enhance students' performance through music. We look forward to the programme being rolled out in other schools in short order," Leachman said.
She is encouraging teachers, students, parents, and the wider society to give their support to the programme so that it will become a bedrock for future educational developments.
Franklyn Scott, principal of the Villa Road Primary and Junior High School in Mandeville, said the partnership between his school and the FGB-MOE music programme has brought excitement to the classrooms and has greatly enhanced students' academic and social development.
"This is a fantastic private-public-sector partnership that is developing literacy and laying the foundation for economic prosperity and nation building!" Scott said.