We Continue to Work Toward Establishing a Presence in the Island of Dominica
The government of Dominica began a textbook scheme in 1996 in response to low attendance in primary and secondary schools and low pass rates in GCE and CXC. Free text-books are provided for all primary school students and for Year 1 to 3 in secondary school (A loan fee is charged to cover for lost books and textbook fees at $85, which is a third of the cost of purchasing books).
This provision of books had a tremendous impact on performance on the part of the students. The transition rates from primary to secondary schools in Dominica were once among the lowest in the region but by 1999 the rate of transition positioned Dominica in the top five in the region. For example, in the period from 1984 to 1992 an average of 609 students per year (representing about 31% of the population who wrote the examinations), were admitted to secondary schools. However, by 1998 this figure increased to some 60.5% (The EFA 2000 Assessment: Dominica).
The Government of Dominica also developed a Secondary Education Development Project (BERP 2) which looked forward with stated aims to reduce poverty and unemployment by increasing the supply of secondary school graduates with flexible academic and technical skills and knowledge.
Several other support programs were implemented. For example, from about 1996 the School Feeding Programme (SFP) targeted selective areas where nutrition and poverty seem to have had negative impacts on the educational outcomes of students. Attendance increased in schools from 70% to 96% in these targeted areas.
The central constraints of all these programs can be summed up along two tangents:
Maintaining given programs, and
Expanding education programs and schemes in a time of reduced government expenditures
The economy of Dominica, due to the collapse of the Banana industry, is at the stage where it is burdened with a substantial debt to service. This places government at a serious disadvantage to execute most of its programs that form part of its social contract commitments to its citizens.
In November 2006, representatives from GLP (through the efforts of Ms. Angie Baptiste of Long Branch, New Jersey) were able to meet with the Hon. Vince Henderson, Minister for Education, Youth Affairs, Sports and Human Resource Development.
The main priority that the Minister pointed to was the need to improve the quality focus for schools by improving literacy and numeracy.
The Global Literacy Project, Inc. (GLP) would like to pilot aComunity Learning Centers (CLC) and School Libraries initiative in response to the proven insight that a major requirement is the need for a culture of reading to be spread throughout the island starting from the kindergarten and primary school level. This in turn requires a general availability of books!
This initial pilot will invole the collecting and transfer of some 15,000elementary to seconday school textbooks and adult reading books.
SUPPORT THIS PROJECT!
Kenya: Teso District (Western Kenya)
Chamasiri Community Learning Center
Matthew Wille of Flanders, New Jersey, and members of his synagogue (Temple Hatikvah) are working on a Bar Mitzvah project to create the first public library in Chamasiri along with a Community Learning Center. He is working with local schools, libraries and even the nearby Barnes and Noble Bookstore to collect books for the library. For more information please contact Matthew via Viki Willie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This program area is currently complete untill our next strategic initiative. Please contact the Area Coordinator for West Africa Programs if you have further questions at: email@example.com
South Africa: Randfontein, Gauteng Province
We continue with the creation of a Community Learning Center and several more school libraries to serve Randfontein, a town in northeastern South Africa, in Gauteng province, 20 km (12 mi) west of Johannesburg. Randfontein (2006 Municipality population 138,005 est. ) is an industrial town. Its economy centers on gold and uranium mining and textile manufacturing. Ores from local mines are also refined here, and the town serves as the processing center and market for the surrounding agricultural area.