(February 27, 2023) – The Ministry of Education through the National Literacy Department and the National Centre for Educational Resource Development (NCERD), launched the Literacy and Robotics Programme at the Den Amstel Primary School in Region Three today.
Teachers, parents and learners at today’s launch
The Den Amstel Primary School is the first school in the country to benefit from this programme. During today’s launch, the Honourable Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand said that she has been working with the parents and teachers of the school. She said that one of the issues highlighted during discussions was that children attending the school were not reading and performing to an acceptable level.
Minister Manickchand said that a decision was taken to send a team to assess the children of the school. Following that assessment, the Education Minister said that it revealed that 70% of the learners were not reading on par with their grade level. She told teachers today that school will not be as usual anymore for the 45 out of 67 learners who have trouble reading.
She said that the students will be locked into a strict six-week literacy programme and exposed to robotics at intervals.
Minister Manickchand appealed today to the parents present that for the programme to work, their children need to attend school consistently. She said, “I could guarantee you this almost anything you do consistently for six weeks whether, by coincidence, or divinity, you will see results. You’re going to see it, the children who come consistently are going to be the children who move, the children who are frequently absent are going to be the children who are left behind.”
She said that the Ministry of Education alone cannot help the children to improve. Minister Manickchand said that the learning material and human resources will be provided but parents must commit to taking their children to the next level and supporting the programme.
Assistant Chief Education Officer (Literacy), Ms. Samantha Williams
Assistant Chief Education Officer (Literacy), Ms. Samantha Williams said today the results of the Ministry’s 2021 literacy diagnostic assessment showed that there is a higher percentage of pupils at the primary level who are reading three to four or more ages below their age and grade level.
Therefore, she said that to improve these statistics and ensure that every child has an opportunity to become a fluent reader by Grade Four, the Ministry of Education through the National Literacy Department has started to implement a menu of measures with today’s launch being one of many to come.
She said that the literacy programme provides an intensive fast paced remedial intervention to fast-track learners’ literacy skills especially their ability to read.
According to Ms. Williams, the Ministry of Education expects that with consistent quality instructions, continuous tracking of performance and prescriptive methodology, the learners who start this intervention will begin to see improvement and move closer to reading at their age level within six weeks of the programme.
Ms. Williams explained that the programme will be delivered through an in-school mechanism as well as an afternoon reading club programme. She said that the in-school programme will begin at the basic level, move on to the intermediate level and culminate at the advanced level.
Meanwhile, the after-school programme will take the form of a reading club where the enthusiasm and culture for reading books will develop.
Regional Chairman of Region Three, Mr. Inshan Ayube
Regional Chairman of Region Three, Mr. Inshan Ayube said that the Honourable Minister of Education has stuck to her word and continues to work with the school to ensure that no child in the community is left behind.
Mr. Ayube noted that Guyana is developing at a fast rate and that it needs literate persons who can comprehend what is unfolding in front of them and push the development agenda. He said the programme is of utmost importance to the school and the community. He urged parents to work with their children and to ensure they attend school to benefit from the materials and instruction.
Ms. Kim Spencer, Curriculum Subject Specialist – Information Technology, said that the robotics component will see the learners getting a chance to work in groups with their friends to assemble robots. She said that literacy will play a big role in the robotics component as the children will have to read and comprehend the instructions to build the robots correctly while still having fun.