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Holness commends Library Services for Bill Gates Foundation support

Published:Tuesday | December 24, 2013 | 12:00 AM

Opposition Leader and Spokesperson on Education, Andrew Holness hailed the Jamaica Library Service's (JLS) recent US$2 million grant to support increased and enhanced ICT provision in the nation's public library system from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as a wonderful Christmas gift to the nation. Holness, in congratulating the JLS on its success, explained.

"The JLS is a true national treasure. It has steadfastly provided access to reading material and technology free of charge to Jamaicans of all ages over many years. This service is critical to national development because it opens doors to all kinds of opportunities."

Holness continued, "The JLS also deserves commendation for consistently being one of the best run of all the Ministry of Education's agencies. These grant application processes are challenging, and this particular one is something the director general and her team have been working on with great determination for a few years. This is a tremendous achievement, and I am confident that this is the beginning of a fruitful relationship between our JLS and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation."

quality time with children

The opposition leader, in wishing all Jamaicans a peaceful holiday season, also encouraged parents to take advantage of the holiday season to not only make more family memories by spending quality time with their children, but to be sure to include discussions and other literacy/numeracy skill building activities with their children. He said: "The holidays are a terrific time to connect and reconnect, as the case may be, and keep the all-important lines of communication open between parents and children of all ages."

The opposition leader went on to urge parents to weave in math-related topics. "It's not that hard because math is all around us. We can ask children to calculate the amount of gifts given and received, the amount of people visited, the prices of the foods and ingredients used to make holiday meals. We can let our children help in the kitchen - many math topics are found in cooking and measurement."

In addition, Holness urged parents to consider buying age-appropriate books as gifts: "Books make terrific gifts. Use this season to explore books together and keep a family reading log of books read. Include responses to the books in your list of discussion topics and add another dimension by drawing scenes from the books." Visits to the parish or branch libraries, Holness suggested, should also be on everyone's holiday schedule to ensure that there is access to reading material in all homes. "This will help to prevent the slippage, known informally in education circles as the holiday/winter break or Christmas slide, and help ensure that our students are ready to return to school ready to learn in January."