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United States, OECS Charts Future of Reading in Early Years with Early Learning Program

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September 11, 2020

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados To promote high literacy scores, the United States, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), has partnered with the Organization of Eastern States and Caribbean (OECS) since 2015 as part of the Early Learners Program (ELP) to improve reading achievements of Kindergarten to Grade 3 learners in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

On International Literacy Day, September 8, the United States and the OECS co-hosted a webinar titled The Future of Reading in the OECS. As the culminating event of the PEL, valued at US $ 8.6 million, the webinar panelists described the impact of the PEL on the performance of novice readers, shared best practices across the board. the OECS and highlighted how the OECS member states foresee the sustainability of the various principles and initiatives. of the ELP.

Webinar participants included students, caregivers, teachers, ELP representatives, OECS representatives, USAID regional representative, Minister of Education of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the Director General of the OECS Commission and the Ambassador of the United States to the OECS and the Eastern Caribbean, among others. The webinar reached audiences all over the Eastern Caribbean.

Supporting reading and the advancement of education is in line with the continued commitment of the United States to increasing the security, prosperity and well-being of the peoples of the Caribbean through the United States-Caribbean Strategy 2020, a said US Ambassador Linda Taglialatela at the opening of the webinar. .

The ELP has contributed to a 50% increase in reading performance among grade 2 students in the region since 2015. The ELP has reached over 73,000 primary learners, provided professional development to over 3,400 teachers and enabled more than 1,400 lessons and 1,000 coaching sessions with teachers. . In addition, the ELP awarded development grants for reading improvement projects to 60 schools and 304,552 teaching and learning materials to 2,582 classrooms across the OECS.

USAID Regional Representative Clinton White described one of the ELP’s sub-initiatives: Given the importance of culturally relevant reading material, the ELP is publishing 41 stories written by local teachers. , community members and students from the age of seven. distribution in classrooms in OECS member states.

OECS Commission Director General Dr Didacus Jules said: The OECS Commission would like to thank the government and people of the United States for supporting the region and tackling this global effort literacy program thanks to funding from the ELP and its predecessor, the Centers of Excellence for Teacher Education Program. I would also like to thank the ministries of education for their commitment and contribution to the implementation of the ELP.

The webinar showcased the ELP’s collaboration with Member States. The panelists described what stakeholders and ministries in each member state are doing to support key initiatives to ensure that the reading gains made continue and improve.

The Minister of Education of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint-Clair Prince, highlighted some of the enduring impacts of the ELP such as program guidelines, best teaching practices, integration of language spoken at home in the program, reading assessment instruments, engagement of ELP coordinators and locally produced documentation. for early readers.

Minister St. Clair Prince said: We expect the full impact of the ELP to begin to show more fully over the next three to five years. Until then, the reading situation should be greatly improved here in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

US Ambassador Taglialatela closed her remarks by thanking Member States, OECS, ELP coordinators, teachers and caregivers for their work in ensuring the continued success of this program. I am confident that over the next few years, with your investments to support the program, you will see improved reading performance and a thriving reading culture. Together, we can ensure that every child reads, learns and grows, and that the quality of life for every citizen in the region improves.

The OECS / USAID ELP webinar The Future of Reading in OECS can be viewed on the United States Embassy in Barbados, OECS and Eastern Caribbean Facebook page: https: //www.facebook. com / OECSCommission / videos / 722272195169569 /

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