Education ministry to launch national literacy improvement partnership

Stabroek News
August 19, 2001

Minister of Education, Dr Henry Jeffrey, has stressed the need to improve the standard of literacy in Guyana, according to a release by the Ministry of Education.

A Ministry of Education press release said that Dr Jeffrey revealed that the ministry was planning a national partnership to raise the level of literacy of the nation's young people, while speaking to primary school head teachers in Region Five at Novar Primary School on Friday morning.

Acknowledging that functional literacy was a major problem in Guyana with some studies placing it as high as 75 per cent of young adults, the minister said that the aim was to ensure that all young adults were able to read and write effectively to contribute to social development.

He pointed out that raising the level of literacy was a national task and said that the ministry would collaborate with parents, community groups, non-governmental organisations, and all interested stakeholders to build on the work currently being carried out in schools and reading centres.

According to the release, the ministry has established a Literacy Strategic Planning Task Group to examine the issue and make recommendations to be included in its strategic development plan. The plan is expected to be completed by the end of 2001. So far the task group has identified the revision of the primary school curriculum, the establishment of performance norms, the creation of class resource centres, peer group teaching, and the involvement of communities as important elements in the literacy scheme.

Dr Jeffrey indicated that John Stannard, C.BE., who is a senior education consultant of the British consultancy firm, CfBT, will be commissioned to provide assistance in planning a national emergency solution to the problem of illiteracy and functional illiteracy at the school and post school levels.

Stannard is expected to spend three weeks in Guyana and during the first part of his visit will advise the literacy/community groups engaged in activities to raise literacy standards in Region Six and Region Ten as part of a programme for the Guyana Education Access Project.

The ministry is alerting all partners of its intention to seek their full participation in the various activities, which hopefully will substantially reduce the rate of functional literacy over the next five years, the release added.