Mon | Jan 30, 2023

Time to make literacy priority

Published:Tuesday | January 24, 2023 | 12:37 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

I am writing with reference to Peter Espeut’s column, ‘Why is our literacy rate so low?’, published on January 20. First, building schools has not kept pace with the increase in population. Second, we have kept the coloniser’s secondary school entrance exam in place, which denies the continuation of the learning process for 70 per cent of our population. Only 30 per cent of our population has completed secondary school.

It is time for us to (1) add new primary schools, especially in rural areas; and (2) stop the entrance exam to secondary schools as it interferes with the learning process.

Children excel at different times in the learning process. Let us ask ourselves, what does a primary school education prepare a child for in this era? Why aren’t there secondary schools in rural areas? Why isn’t there bus service from rural primary schools to the nearest secondary schools?

I was born in Lottery, St James, attended Lottery Primary School. There is still no secondary school within eight-10 miles of that primary school since the 1960s and no bus service to the nearest secondary school.

My family had to move to a town for us to attend secondary school. It is time for Jamaica to make literacy a priority to enable us to compete efficiently and effectively globally.

BEVERLY BROWN-SANDS

Via Gleaner Online