Former Education Minister Sonia Williams says local education officials are worried that several students here are still reading below their grade level.
She said coupled with weak readers, there is also an issue regarding gender imbalance.
Williams told a conference of the Caribbean Family Literacy Program that while the Ministry of Education has seen improvements in literacy levels of students over the last ten years, there is still a lot of work to be done.
She said after three years of primary education, some 80% of students are reading at or above their grade level.
“The 20%, who have serious reading difficulties and read below their grade level must be of concern to us. We also have a grave gender imbalance for of these weak readers, we find that there are three times as many boys as girls in that category,” she said.
She said education officials are aware that while some students can tell stories by looking at pictures on books, there are others who have no exposure to books.
“It is estimated that some students begin primary schools having had several hundreds of hours exposures to books at their homes while others begin with less than 50 hour,” she said.
– DNO Correspondent