By Tracey Khan Drakes
[www.inewsguyana.com] – The Ministry of Education in celebrating International World Literacy Day 2014 today (Monday September 8), launched its five year draft strategic plan that seeks to improve the country’s literacy rate.
The plan has a number of components that will be implemented in the school system over the next five years and is expected to ensure literacy by Grade 4.
Education Minister Priya Manickchand spoke of the approach that is needed to ensure this plan is a success. The initiative has to be complimented with the involvement of all stakeholders from the home to the classroom, she explained. “Through home, school and community involvement, no one person will be able to get this right… while we are at the best place we have ever been, we are not comfortable as a Government as a Ministry and we should not be comfortable as a people that were at the best place we can be and that means that more effort is required from every single one of us,” the Minister stressed.
The changes that will be made to ensure the desired results were outlined by Minister Manickchand. They include, stakeholder alliance, the establishment of reading tents and centers across the country, literacy friendly environments will be created at agencies, institutions and organizations across the country and resource materials will also be given to parents to help them enhance their children’s reading abilities.
Importantly, the Education Minister revealed the results for a test that was conducted at the primary level which showed that 32 percent of students were reading at grade level.
“That does not mean that the other children could not read, they were perhaps not reading at grade level, it doesn’t mean they were completely illiterate… I am not suggesting that 68 percent of our school population is illiterate,” she cautioned.
The test was conducted based on the Ministry’s Literacy standards. This she promised will be changed but only “as a nation.”
Meanwhile, Chief Education Officer Olato Sam explained that Guyanese have an opportunity to make to ensure this problem that is challenging national development apriority. He also called on corporate entities to support reading and literacy agencies in this regard.
He assured that the steps that the Ministry has taken to ensure the literacy rate is improved will be sustained and positive results will be generated.
World literacy day in Guyana is being celebrated under the theme: “Literacy Revolution has begun’.
The targets set for this plan includes, 60 percent pass rate at the National Grade 6 assessment, 56 percent pass rate at the National Grades 2 & 4 assessment and 50 percent passes with grades 1-3 at the CSEC English.