Millions for Literacy and Primary School Libraries in Grenada

ST. GEORGE, GRENADA, June 25, 2015: All primary schools in Grenada are ensured fully functional libraries, or in some cases new libraries, where none have previously existed, thanks to millions in funding, provided through the Room to Read project.

The Government of Grenada, through the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Grenada Schools Incorporated, to launch this early years literacy project – Room to Read -on Friday, June 19, 2015.

Speaking on the issue of Literacy, Permanent Secretary, with responsibility for education, Ms. Pauleen Finlay, said, “Low literacy started off, I would say, as a challenge, but over the years, it has grown into a considerable battle for us. Although this challenge has grown, the good thing is, it is a battle we are not going to lose.”

The project, which is titled “Strengthening the Foundation for Early Literacy in Grenada”, is scheduled to be executed during the three-year period, 2015 to 2018. It will also work with Grenadian authors and illustrators to create and publish books that are culturally relative to the needs of young Grenadian students.

Speaking of Room to Read, at the launch, Mrs. Andrea Phillip, CEO of Grenada Schools Incorporated said, “Its targeting Grade 1 children, in all primary schools. It is targeting the improvement of teaching practice, the building of capacities of teachers; it is targeting assessing, benchmarking, following, tracing students reading performances; it is targeting the development of supplemental curriculum materials to help teachers do what they’re doing in the area of reading. Generally, it is targeting literacy improvement.”

Mr. Joel Bacha, who is Global Director - Strategic Expansion, of the Room to Read project, spoke of the programme’s structure. He said, “We have Literacy Assessment; we have Grade I Literacy Instruction; we have School Libraries and we have Children’s Books.” He went on to add that he was “…very much looking forward to working with the Ministry of Education and Grenada Schools Incorporated in supporting the schools. Grenada Schools Incorporated will work with the Ministry of Education to coordinate work and Room to Read will provide the technical support.”

The Grenada Schools Incorporated is a Grenadian, non-profit organization and Room to Read is a United States-based charitable organization, located in San Francisco, California, which seeks to transform the lives of millions of children in developing countries. Grenada is the first school in the Caribbean to benefit from the Room to Read project, which has previously been limited to the Africa and Asia.

Leo Garbutt, Owner and Manager of the Calabash Hotel and a trustee of the Grenada Schools Inc., said, “We are going to build as many libraries as we possibly can in primary schools.” The budget for the first year of the project is E.C $4.6 million.

The major donor facilitating this project is the Grenada Schools Limited of the UK, funded by Mr. & Mrs. Michael and Melanie Sherwood. The Sherwoods, who have been coming to Grenada over the years, have developed a great love for the island, which has led to them wanting to contribute towards its sustainable growth and development.

Ms. Finlay stated the Ministry’s commitment to support the project and her enthusiasm and gratitude, on behalf of the ministry, for the extension of Room to Read, into Grenada, given its potential to positively and considerably impact literacy.


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