Eleuthera Bahamas — In past years, there has been a noticeable decline in the literacy and numeracy levels of many students in schools throughout South Eleuthera. Their lack of academic skills have left many of them unqualified for the job market once they would have graduated from high school, and thus, make them a part of increasing unemployment. Further, many school teachers have been most concerned with existing reading and math material used in schools. These anxieties prompted local organizations to get involved. 

The South Eleuthera Mission, One Eleuthera Foundation, The Department of Education Eleuthera and Office General joined forces to host a two-day literacy and numeracy workshop for Primary School educators on Eleuthera. Held January 5th and 6th, the workshop attracted over 100 teachers and school administrators from the Northern and Southern Districts on Eleuthera. 

Leading the training was Mr Dwayne Lockhart, a representative from Pearson. Pearson is a company that offers tools and resources designed for all types and levels of learning.

Mr Lockhart lectured on two specific resources offered by Pearson. These included Reading Street and Envisioning Math which are used to enhance literacy and numeracy. In addition to his lecture, each school received samples of both programs for grades K-6.

“This workshop is just one step in the right direction of improving education on Eleuthera”, said Mr Lockhart. 

“If we want a literate Bahamas and world at large, then the only thing left to do is educate the children who sit in the classrooms in front of us. These children will be the leaders of the next generation and generations to come”, he concluded.

Most rousing was the enthusiasm shown by educators about the literacy and numeracy program; a telltale sign for the future success of the program.

“The vision of Eleuthera’s school district is “Top performing students in top performing schools”, said Mrs Helen Simmons-Johnson, District Education Officer for Eleuthera.

“These sessions equip teachers with vital information they can use in the classroom to enhance their existing teaching methods, improve student learning and help move schools forward to achieve the district’s vision”, she continued.

Mr Errol McPhee, Executive Director for Partners in Education for One Eleuthera Foundation, and Chairman and Acting Executive Director for The South Eleuthera Mission noted that literacy and numeracy is much more than reading, writing and arithmetic.

“Literacy includes the ability to use and understand spoken words, print, writing and digital media. Numeracy is the ability to understand and use mathematics to solve problems and meet demands of day to day living”, he said.

Mr McPhee believes that Pearson’s digital literacy and numeracy programs will ensure that children on Eleuthera develop such abilities.

As part of its Partners in Education Initiative, One Eleuthera Foundation and The South Eleuthera Mission are currently executing a grant from The Cotton Bay Foundation courtesy of Maria Fauth Charitable Foundation to pilot the digital literacy and numeracy program at Deep Creek Primary School. This pilot also includes the addition of new computers and Deep Creek Primary School and projectors and screens for Primary Schools from Tarpum Bay south.

“All Primary Schools in the South have also been equipped with Wi-Fi”, noted Mr Shaun Ingraham, CEO of One Eleuthera Foundation during his remarks. This is a vital component of the digital literacy and numeracy program.

Phase two of the project will extend the digital literacy and numeracy program to the other four Primary Schools in the South. The hope is to eventually launch this program in all Primary Schools throughout the island.

For more information on this and other One Eleuthera Foundation and partner projects visit www.oneeleuthera.org

For more photos visit One Eleuthera Foundation’s Facebook page