Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly said the Arrow Literacy programme, a joint effort with her ministry, Shell and the Arrow Foundation, was a three-year commitment to the students of East Port of Spain. She was speaking at the launch of the programme at Arrow's Literary Day Extravanganza on October 12 at the National Academy of the Performing Arts, Port of Spain.
The programme is an audio-visual multi-sensory programme which focuses on self-voice techniques covering reading, spelling, dictation, speech, and listening skills, while improving motivation and self esteem.
The programme is being implemented in 20 primary schools in the East Port of Spain area (EPoS). Arrow Foundation director Christopher Bonterre said the programme has already been implemented in schools in Valencia, Matura, Point Fortin, Couva, and other communities, with the help of the private sector. He said this particular programme will be studied with the assistance of funding from Shell.
Shell TT social performance and social investment advisor Ryssa Brathwaithe said Shell was happy to assist with funding the programme as it wanted to contribute to the communities it was a part of.
“Reading is important because it prepares you to change your life, and even to change the world. It allows you to experience the world. Literacy is the foundation for lifelong education. We’re happy to partner with the Arrow Foundation because we think it’s important to provide what the children want, and not what we want for them.”
Laventille West MP and National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds said he was pleased that the programme would be implemented in schools in East Port of Spain as it showed the government was aware of the needs of the community.
“Access to knowledge and the ability to read promotes self-esteem,” Hinds said.
“Parents have an obvious critical responsibility along with the school in developing our children, ensuring they are literate, ensuring that they could learn, and making sure they have the materials needed to aid in their development.”
Gadsby-Dolly said covid19 robbed TT’s children of the potential for their scholastic development and robbed the nation of its potential for upward development. She said it was for this reason that govermment had allocated $50 million to remedial education, as it realised it had to invest in helping children recover.
She encouraged corporate entities to partner with government and learning institutions to assist school development.
“There is room for you. If you are not helping in some way to mitigate the circumstances our children have faced in these two years, then there is room for you. If you are not contributing and giving back in this way to TT at this time then what are you doing, because who are you going to get to work for you in your institutions?
“Who are you going to get to fulfil your HR plans, it is these children who will be in your workforce in a few years and if they are not adequately prepared to contribute, then TT will be in a very strange place.
”We said 60 years ago that we are independent and what that means is that we have to produce professionals that will take their place in our country. If our children are not prepared to step into those positions, what will the future of TT look like?”