Ministry of Education welcomes Early Learners Program

Marcella Powell
Marcella Powell

The Early Learners Program (ELP) which is aimed at addressing the low performances and seeks to raise the reading levels of early learners at the early primary level, from grades K to 3 in all member states of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), is being welcomed in Dominica.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, Marcella Powell, said at the program’s inception meeting, ahead of the actual launch, which was held on Thursday 12th November 2015,   that the Ministry is pleased with ELP’s objectives.

“We are particularly pleased,” She said adding that it is in line with the Ministry’s own objectives.

The program aims to introduce appropriate language of instruction to teach reading at the early grades, develop teachers capability to asses and to teach reading to children at the early grades of primary school and improve teacher competence in the use of diagnostic tools for the early assessment of children at risk of low achievement in reading. Other objectives of the program are: to develop and procure as necessary, teaching resources and learning materials for reading, design, develop and adopt appropriate intervention strategies for at risk children, design and implement a programme of assessment which provides better guidance for addressing students’ needs and to secure adequate instructional and practice time to reading in and out of school.

The program is a one of the initiatives of the Organization of the Eastern Caribbean States and is being sponsored by United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Powell said the Ministry remains convinced that reading is the “most important skill that children can develop in their formative period as this determines whether children become proficient writers and communicators, whether they will excel at school, and whether they will achieve resultant successes in their careers and lives.”

Sisera Simon
Sisera Simon

Meantime Education Specialist, Education Development Management Unit in the OECS, Sisera Simon, said the program will target students at risk.

“We intend to use the lessons learnt from previous programs to inform (ELP) going forward. But moreover it seeks to address or to consider those who are most at risk,” she said.

Simon added that the strategies and ideas will also tackle males taking in the socio economic factors of students and “most importantly” it seeks to include teachers who will be integral in guiding what happens in the project.

ELP came to be as a result of poor performance in English Language and Mathematics that continues to be an area of major headache for educators and policy makers in the OECS.

Sections of the audience at the function
Sections of the audience at the function

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  1. T.P.H.
    November 14, 2015

    Read throughout pregnancy and read to your children from birth and get them involved in the reading process as soon as they are able (usually before 2 years) and they will flourish.

  2. sincerely yours
    November 13, 2015

    It is more than time something was done about our children who fall through the cracks of the education system. As a grade K teacher I noticed long ago that the children who come to primary school (Grade K) well equipped with their prerequisites are the ones who read very well applying their decoding skills by the time they have completed grade K. It is also clear that often it is these children who get support from the home. Now min of education should also take a good look at the co-relation between absenteeism and low performance. Some of the children are genuinely sick but others, through the lack of understanding of the importance of this ‘start off’ class’ often keep the children at home for minor reasons. They make comments like ‘he small’ and ‘not abc they learning nuh’

    • November 13, 2015

      Schools can and should do what they can, but I completely agree with you that parents are the key. Read to your young children from the time they are babies. It will make a difference!

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