How to improve Literacy and Numeracy in Belize Print E-mail
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Thursday, 22 February 2018 00:00

The Ministry of Education launched its national literacy strategy “Literacy as a National Priority” at the Marion Jones Sporting Complex on Monday, February 19, 2018. The project, which was rolled out under the theme “Literacy: An Essential Skill for School Participation”, has the focus of ensuring that children are reading and writing at their grade level or higher. So far, participation has been carried out on nine-primary schools in Belize City and at the literacy event, teachers from those schools displayed their techniques, both traditional and non-traditional, that prompt engagement from their students.

Some of those techniques see the use of technology and according to Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education, the Ministry is stepping up in this regard to promote interest in the aspects of literacy and numeracy.  The Ministry has been working with the nine-primary schools since September 2017 and according to Dr. Carol Babb, Chief Education Officer, the approach has been to implement individualized learning strategies. Over time, the national examinations are consistent in its showing that an estimated 25% of schools show low performance: these schools are more likely to have a larger, disengaged student body versus a smaller, individualized system.

The initiative will be carried out in phases. According to Dr. Rose Bradley, Ministry of Education, in the initial phase will focus on the lower grade students “with the intent to establish a strong reading foundation geared towards the development of critical reading skills, creative writing and the use of reading and writing as learning tools.”

The strategy has thus far seen the partnership of UNICEF as well as the Peace Corps. A formal agreement was established in 2017 between the Ministry of Education and the Peace Corps and since then, a diagnostic test was produced and evaluated. Besides the participation of large stakeholders, Minister Faber encourages the participation of teachers, parents, and everyone else.