On Thursday 12 March the Reading for Educational Achievement and Development Programme (R.E.A.D), which started ten years ago as a pilot study at the St. Martin de Porris schools, was expanded to eight schools through a partnership between Digicel Foundation and the Barita Education Foundation. All eight Resource Centres will be named in memory of the late Administrator of the Barita Education Foundation, Lakeisha Williams.
The Programme, which first started with The St. Martin de Porres Schools in Gordon Town as its pilot, uses a comprehensive strategy in training teachers on ‘best teaching practices’ so that they can help improve performances in basic schools. Through Lakeisha’s dedication and supervision, the programme which was adopted by Barita and formalized as the Barita Education Foundation in 2004, grew to national acclaim with its focus on basic schools in inner city communities. By the start of 2007, the programme had been implemented in 10 schools and since August 2008, the Digicel Foundation entered into a strategic partnership with Barita Education Foundation to expand the programme to eight additional schools.
“The vision of the Barita Education Foundation mirrors that of Digicel Foundation, so it was only natural that we formed this partnership to expand the R.E.A.D program”, commented Executive Director of Digicel Foundation, Major General Robert Neish, ”
Since the programme has been implemented in mainly inner city communities, it has been expanded to include a parenting component where parents are encouraged and sensitized on good parenting skills and ways to supervise their children at home so that the learning process is continued outside of the class room.
“The Barita Foundation usually works within four other schools on an annual basis. However, with their new partnership with the Digicel Foundation the Barita Education Foundation is now able to assist eight schools.” .
The new partnership with the Digicel Foundation and the Barita Education Foundation involves the Barita Education focusing on the training of the teachers, while Digicel Foundation focuses of the physical aspect on the schools including creating Resource Centres and refurbishing other areas of the schools as needed and the remuneration of four of the eight teachers.