Young Readers To Benefit From Ministry’s Collaboration With OECS/USAID

(EMU) – St. Kitts, October, 21, 2015: Young readers in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis are set to benefit from a US $2 Million project that is funded by the USAID to assist in the development of Young readers throughout the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).  The programme entitled the OECS/USAID Early Learners Programme is expected to advance the existing efforts of the respective countries in enhancing the learning abilities of children in the Kindergarten to grade three cohort.  “This is not a new project being introduced by the OECS said Head of the OECS Education Development Management Unit Mr. Marcellus Albertin, “We are just here to support your efforts and provide guidance in this regard. In fact as a country with outstanding statistics as far as literacy is concerned we stand to gain something from you in terms of identifying best practices.”

Mr Albertin was at the time addressing participants at the inception meeting with the OECS Project Management Team to expose local educators to the Early Learners Programme. The meeting involved exposing them to programme components, intended outputs and their role in project implementation.

Reading Coordinator at the Curriculum Development Unit Mrs Jacquelyn Bassue is the Focal Point for the Project. Bassue noted that following the 2015 Mico
Diagnostic test it was revealed that approximately 13 percent of students in grades one to six were reading below their level. She added that while this was way above the regional average it was still unacceptable given the goal that all children would read at or above their level.

“We can see that our grade one students and our grade six have the lowest number of students performing at the required level,” she said. “Our grade two students however have 91.3 percent reading at or above the required level. However we still have the 8.7 percent who are below who of course we need to work well with and get to that level. It is our aim to get every single student reading at or above their required level.”

Chief Education Officer Dr Tricia Esdaille said while it is important that governments invest in literacy as a catalyst for economic growth the single most important reason for investing in literacy is that reading is how belief systems and character are shaped.

“Losing yourself in a good book is how you might find yourself,” Dr. Esdaille Suggested. “Reading is vital to good education…Today and in the years ahead we will have to join forces together to raise the quality of services especially for young children with the greatest need in the area of literacy.”
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education Hon Shawn Richards echoed the sentiment that no child is to be left behind.

“We have to reach those persons…we can be successful in doing so,” Deputy Prime Minister Richards said. “Yes there may be other factors such as mental capacity but as teachers we need to be able to recognize when people have shortcomings and address those shortcomings individually or through the resources of the Ministry of Education.”

Mr. Rafer Gordon and Ms Natalie Johnson, members of the OECS Project Management Team gave an overview of the programme outlining its components including Language Policy; Teacher Training; Professional Development; Student Assessment; Teaching and Learning Resources; Reading Curriculum and School Improvement Planning.

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Chief Education Officer Dr Tricia Esdaille
 Mr. Rafer Gordon member of the
OECS ProjectManagement Team
 Reading Coordinator Mrs Jacquelyn Bassue

Mr. Marcellus Albertin Head of the OECS Education
Development Management Unit 

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