Inner-City Basic Schools Benefit From Upgraded Facilities and Trained Early Childhood Teachers Kingston, Jamaica – 11 February 2010: Through a partnership now in its second year, the Digicel Foundation and the Barita Education Foundation, have refurbished and equipped three basic schools with new Resource Centres and trained Early Childhood teachers. On Thursday, February 11, 2010, Maranatha and Peniel Tabernacle Basic Schools in Waterhouse and Operation Friendship Basic School in Tivoli Gardens officially opened their new Centres.
“The Digicel Foundation is committed to ridding our island of illiteracy and we acknowledge that this tender age at the Basic School level is an opportune time for learning,” commented Digicel Foundation’s Administrator, Eleen Rankine. “If we can tackle the problem at this early stage, then we will be well on our way to achieving the Ministry of Education’s 2015 goal for literacy and numeracy”.
Evolving out of Barita’s R.E.A.D. (Reading for Educational Achievement and Development), M.A.T.H. (Mathematical Approaches and Techniques for a Head start) and Teacher Training Programmes, which have been in existence since 2001, the joint venture allows Barita to focus on instruction and teacher training while Digicel focuses on the physical aspect of the schools. Under the agreement, the Digicel Foundation refurbishes the identified rooms and remunerates an additional four Barita teachers. Barita, on the other hand, furnishes the rooms and implements a one (1) year instruction and training programme with special emphasis on assessment, grouping and instructional strategies in the areas of literacy and numeracy. Last year, eight schools within inner-city communities benefitted from the partnership.
“Host teachers are trained through mentorship and by understudying the Barita trained Early Childhood teachers while they execute the R.E.A.D. and M.A.T.H. programmes in the Resource Centres,” explained Donna Leslie, Supervisor and Literacy Specialist of the Barita Education Foundation. “Additionally, the host teachers are exposed to current literacy, numeracy and Early Childhood concepts and strategies through planned workshops and seminars, organized by Barita’s personnel and/or other appropriate organizations.
“While in the communities, Barita also takes the opportunity through its Parent Involvement and Awareness Programme (P.I.A.P.) to sensitize parents about the important role they play in their child’s development”, informs Mrs. Leslie. P.I.A.P. is executed by two contracted social workers.
The Principals of this year’s three schools are very excited about their participation in the programme this year. “I am very excited that Digicel and Barita have come into our community with this programme,” expressed Principal McGregor of Peniel Tabernacle Basic School. “It is not particularly easy for our children to learn because of the environment and sometimes, the atmosphere, within the community.
“I am impressed with the comfortable learning environment the Centre offers the children,” said Principal Walker of Operation Friendship. “I’m expecting great things to happen in the future at the school because of the installation of the Centre.”
The Barita Education Foundation has made an indelible mark in Early Childhood Development, as over 95 Early Childhood Teachers have been trained and over 6000 students have been a part of the programme since its official launch in 2004.
About the Digicel Foundation
The Digicel Foundation is a non-profit organization established by Digicel in 2004, which proactively helps to empower communities and promote self-reliance through its support for education, skills training, sports and other social programmes. Through these activities, the Foundation aims to build community spirit across Jamaica. Among other projects implemented by the Foundation are:
• J $33.6 million to the Ministry of Education’s “Enrichment Centre Initiative”, designed to improve literacy and numeracy in 12 primary schools islandwide – Waterford Primary, Lyssons Primary, Franklin 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 benefitted from two rooms, because of its large student population.
• J$1.3 million renovation and upgrade of 25 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms at the William Chamberlain Rehabilitation Centre at The Salvation Army, Peter’s Lane, Downtown Kingston.
• J$10 million Barita Education Partnership focusing on teacher training and the refurbishing of three resource rooms – Peniel Basic School, Maranatha Basic School and Operation Friendship in Kingston.
• J$2.1 million Multipurpose Court for Braeton Primary and Junior High School, St. Catherine.
Visit our website at www.digiceljamaicafoundation.org for more information.
About the Barita Education Foundation
In recognition of the contribution of Early Childhood Education to the social and economic development of our country, The Barita Education Foundation was officially launched in 2004. The overall mission of the Foundation is to provide support in the development and implementation of educational programmes geared towards improving literacy and numeracy at the Early Childhood level in Jamaica, ultimately impacting on our nation’s future. Since its inception in 2004, the Foundation which is wholly supported by the Barita Group of Companies has made considerable strides. Notably:
• Our partner schools grew from 5 in 2004 to 21 in 2009.
• The number of students benefitting from the programme increased from 378 students in 2004 to over 6,000 students at the beginning of the academic year 2009.
• 97 Early Childhood Teachers in inner city schools have received training.
• 487 parents received training from social workers employed by Barita.
Email the Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.