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Educators complete USAID, Digicel Foundation training

Published:Monday | August 4, 2014 | 12:00 AM

When the new school year begins next month, at least 70 principals and teachers from 35 primary schools in Manchester, Clarendon, Portland, St Elizabeth and St Catherine will be equipped with special skills, to improve students' performance in literacy and numeracy.

The educators recently completed a special training session on how to use Information Communication Technology (ICT) equipment and other tools to help the students. The resources were received as a part of the Enrichment Programme. The programme is a partnership between the Digicel Foundation and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The 35 underperforming primary schools participating in the training programme represent the second batch of institutions being engaged. Over 11,000 students currently enrolled in these schools will benefit from the resources and teaching strategies being provided.

Literacy boost

Dr Andre Hill, national literacy coordinator in the Ministry of Education, noted the improvements recorded within the first batch of schools to implement the programme, saying, "The feedback from the literacy officers working with the 31 schools from the first group is that the interventions have significantly impacted the advancement of reading. The results from the Grade Four Literacy Test have also reflected an improvement in the literacy rates from these schools."

The Ministry of Education hopes to maximise on the efforts and resources provided so they can better utilise their limited resources to provide assistance to these and other schools that are in great need of this injection.

Tajna Pryce, mathematics specialist, Region 5 shared: "Teachers need a lot of support, especially from rural schools where they may not necessarily have regular access to the learning resources provided by the Digicel Foundation. Also, they may not know how to effectively use them".

She added "Training sessions like these that offer ongoing teacher development opportunities are critical to addressing systemic issues."

The third and final batch of 29 schools will be identified to achieve a total of 95 schools under the extended partnership with Digicel Foundation and USAID. Samantha Chantrelle, CEO of the Digicel Foundation, continues to emphasize the need for partnerships in national development, saying: "It is only through collaboration that we can continue to achieve more as a country. The Digicel Foundation remains confident that we can attain extraordinary results in education if we pool our resources and ideas."