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Education ministry gets EU support for literacy programme

This article was published in The Gleaner newspaper on the 06 May 2023. You can also find it on their website here:

Some 7,000 students from six high schools in Kingston and St Andrew, St James and Westmoreland are to benefit from a European Union (EU) supported programme aimed at improving their literacy skills, and academics.

The Literacy Education Acceleration Programme (LEAP), which is being spearheaded by the Ministry of Education and Youth with the support of the Citizen Security Secretariat of the Ministry of National Security and the European Union (EU) was launched on Tuesday, May 2 at Holy Trinity High School in Kingston.

Minister of Education and Youth, Fayval Williams expressed confidence that the initiative will improve performance among students.

“We know that our schools are faced with widening literacy gaps, compounded by learning losses during COVID-19. We also know that low literacy can be tied to behaviour problems in the classroom, low self-esteem and ultimately low employability later. The size of the gap requires alternative approaches, and we are excited to see the results from these schools, before rolling out to more schools in Jamaica,” she explained.

Key partners in the Literacy Education Acceleration Programme in discussion on how the initiative will improve the literacy skills of students attending the pilot schools. From left are: Chris Bonterre, director, ARROW Foundation; Sandra Maxwell Williams,teacher at Norman Manley High School; Minister of Education and Youth, Fayval Williams; Marianne Vansteen, EU Ambassador to Jamaica; Dr Kasan Troupe, acting chief education officer at the Ministry of Education and Youth, and Roncel Brooks, principal of Norman Manley High School.


The initiative is being led by the Ministry of Education and Youth as part of its Inter-Ministerial School Support Strategy under the Citizen Security Plan of Jamaica. The strategy was developed to strengthen services specifically in schools serving communities in the Zones of Special Operations (ZOSOs). These schools have identified literacy as a crucial issue to be addressed to improve academics, safety and security, a release notes. The LEAP initiative is described as an important component of the Citizen Security Plan with budget support and technical assistance from the European Union.

“This teacher training on the literacy software is part of a much broader European Union and Jamaica partnership around the Citizen Security Plan, supporting an all-of-government approach to crime and violence. The EU is proud to partner with the Ministry of Education and Youth to increase social investment and strengthen schools to help their students to thrive,” said Marianne Van Steen, EU ambassador to Jamaica.

Teachers from the pilot schools are being trained to use the literacy software. The six schools are Kingston High School, Norman Manley High School, Holy Trinity High School, Haile Selassie High School in Kingston and St Andrew; Grange Hill High School in Westmoreland and Spot Valley High School in St James.

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