World Literacy Day was celebrated worldwide last week including in Belize. Literacy is an everyday goal and efforts around the country are made in this regard. Today, there was a meeting to discuss ways on improving literacy among the students in the country. Chief Education Officer Carol Babb told us that they have been seeing clear improvement in this area over the past two years.
Dr.Carol Babb, Chief Education Officer: “You will recall that two years ago we launched literacy as a national priority so we have educators from every district at this meeting right now because we all want every district to be working on our literacy strategy. So we are going to share data and we are going to share how we can address those issues that teachers and students are facing with reading and writing. One of the biggest issues we have is comprehension, we find that children may be able to call the words but they’re not understanding what they are reading. So that is one of the areas that we are going to address today at this meeting, how to help students to comprehend, to understand what they read on a daily basis. We had been working with 30 schools in the Belize district, in the Toledo and Stann Creek districts and we have seen marked improvement. So what we are trying to do now is to try to make these strategies, share them nationally so that every district is sharing these strategies with all schools in their districts so that we can see a marked improvement in reading and writing in our entire country. What we are doing, we are starting off with assessment, we need to find out where the children are. Some of them have problems with maybe with phonemic awareness, phonics, with reading comprehension. We’re also giving them clues like ‘what did you read?’ like we are demonstrating how students can learn to understand what they are reading. Presently we are developing a national literacy strategy and we are going to launch that maybe by December and it will be for a time frame of five years and then we can start off with assessment and then see where we go from there.”
The meeting was held this morning at the Marion Jones Sporting Complex.