Kingston, Jamaica – 10 September 2009: On Thursday, September 10, Victoria Town Primary School in South Manchester officially opens its Enrichment Room which was refurbished and equipped by the Digicel Foundation via a partnership with the Ministry of Education.
“The Digicel Foundation has refurbished and equipped an Enrichment Room for the Victoria Town Primary School, in hopes that their performance in Literacy and numeracy will significantly improve and in the end positively impact the literacy and numeracy rates at the national level,” outlined Major General Robert Neish, Executive Director of the Digicel Foundation.
Last year Victoria Town Primary School closed their school year with approximately 60% of the students reading at their grade level. Principal Paul Grant indicated that there has been a consistent 30% of the school who have not been able to achieve this mark; however he is now confident that with the installation of this Enrichment Room, they can now improve their literacy level.
Principal Grant expressed that due to the financial constraints of parents, poor attendance to school is one of the inhibiting factors why the students do not perform consistently well. He applauded the efforts of the PATH program to rectify this problem, but says more still needs to be done. The school has seen the need to employ untraditional methods to maximize its efforts to get these students up to par with their counterparts. He went on to add that – “Some of our students are not able to learn under normal conditions and so we try to teach them the way they learn and not the way we teach,” commented Principal Grant.
Mrs. Annabelle Barrett, the teacher selected for the room, was a part of 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.
Dr. Michele Meredith from the Education Transformation Project in the Ministry of Education outlined that the new Enrichment Centre is designed for both students who are reading below the respective grade levels and students who are reading above their grade levels and would like more educational challenges that are not presented in the normal classroom context.
The Enrichment Centre at Victoria Town All-Age is one of 13 such facilities that has been refurbished and equipped by the Digicel Foundation in conjunction with the Ministry of Education. The rooms are equipped with Information Communication Technologies such as laptops, computers, literacy and numeracy software such as Hooked on Phonics, Early Success, and Master Reader, Hooked on Math, Math Manipulative Audio-Visual Headsets, TV Sets, DVD Players, among other electronic