12 schools across the island to benefit from Enrichment Centre Initiative
Kingston, Jamaica – 16 September 2009: Digicel Foundation, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, has formed a partnership that will see twelve schools across the island benefitting from thirteen Enrichment Centres. The centres, according to Dr. Michele Meredith from the Ministry of Education, will assist the Government in reaching the National Literacy and Numeracy targets. This is endorsed by Minister of Education, Andrew Holness, who says the Ministry of Education intends to reach its target of 100 percent literacy at the primary level by 2015.
These centres, “have been retrofitted and equipped to afford students the opportunity to improve their academic performance through computer technology and remedial instruction”, explained Major General Robert Neish, Digicel’s Foundation Executive Director.
The collaboration between both organizations was realized through a shared vision in aiding the Government to meet its National Literacy and Numeracy Targets. “The Foundation had been approached in the past by schools at both the primary and high school levels to assist with Resource/Education Centres and those projects have been and continues to be successful, as such we approached the Ministry in an effort to promote the initiative on a wider scale”, Neish added.
The Enrichment Centres are essentially well equipped resource rooms that house computers, interactive whiteboards, literacy and numeracy software and other teaching aids. Major Neish, further outlined that, “In addition to providing a comfortable learning atmosphere for the students the Foundation has gone a step further, by ensuring that the teachers selected for the rooms are properly trained in the use of the equipment and the various teaching aids”.
All teachers in these Enrichment Rooms underwent an extensive three-month training program, involving representatives of the three main streams of the Ministry of Education, i.e. Literacy, Numeracy and Special Education as well as the Special Educator of Jessie Ripoll Primary School, Sandra Maxwell-Williams. This training is geared towards equipping the teachers with strategies on how to identify and treat each child’s area of weakness and also how to use the various literacy and numeracy software and hardware.
The Ministry of Education will provide Education Officers and Special Education Officers to monitor and evaluate the success of the programmes at the various schools. The Ministry will also be responsible for quality assurance and technical guidance as well as continued training for the teachers who will be in charge of the rooms.
The schools that will benefit from the programme are Waterford Primary, Lyssons Primary, Franklyn Town Primary, Balaclava Primary, Victoria Town Primary, Cave Hill Primary, Drapers All Age, Melrose Primary and Junior High, New Hope Primary and Junior High, St. Ann’s Bay Primary, Moneague Primary and Junior High and Spanish Town Primary, who will benefit from two rooms because of its large student population. The schools were selected by the Ministry of Education based on factors such as their literacy and numeracy need, teachers to facilitate the process and the availability of an existing space at the school.
The initiative will be evaluated and assessed through an incentive programme, whereby Digicel Foundation will further provide sectional prizes to students, teachers and parents who assist with the success of each Centre. Executive Director of Digicel Foundation, Major General Robert Neish encourages both private and public sector entities to come on board and contribute towards the initiative, “we are anxious to facilitate and partner with any organization or entity that sees this programme as a way of exercising their corporate and social responsibility.