This year a mere six primary schools and just one secondary school competed in the Schools’ Literacy Challenge, and at least one educator is disappointed that more schools did not view this as important.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY after the prize-giving ceremony this morning at the Ministry of Education in the Elsie Payne Complex, education officer with responsibility for literacy Christina Morris said the ministry had done all it could to make schools and students aware of the competition and its significance –– but still the response was measly.
Morris said the challenge was developed from the ministry’s aim to keep literacy at the forefront and to engage students at all levels of the system to promote literacy.
In spite of the low turnout she was still hopeful that as news of the quality writings entered this year spread, more schools would be enticed to enter their children in 2015.
“Writing is an art, a craft which needs to be nourished over time, so that it can develop and flourish. If we are to foster [a] culture of writing and the love for writing, we must inculcate this art in our children from an early age. We hope that this competition is seen as more than just another competition.
“This kind of activity is awareness building, provide additional opportunities for our students to showcase their work and their talent . . . before an audience; and our children need that practice,” Morris said.
“We can’t legislate everything. We can’t make everything compulsory. We can only appeal to our teachers and encourage them to use these kinds of activities within the classrooms and within the school environment,” she added while stressing that the Ministry of Education would likewise continue to play its part and also promote such best practices.
It was comforting to note, however, that the quality of stories entered this year was very good, Morris said. But she added that there were some areas which they felt needed some work and she would convey this to the teachers.
In the lower junior category (7–9 years), first place went to Kiara Grazette of St Catherine’s Primary school. Rhea Clarke, also from St Catherine’s Primary school, was second.
In the upper juniors (9–11 years), Shania Williams from St Alban’s Primary was first. Second place went to Bethany Sewitt of Belmont Primary; and tied for third place were the Class 3 of Society Primary and Zaria Herbert of Belmont Primary. Fifth place went to Vasie Boyce of St Alban’s Primary.
In the secondary level, Maxamillion Hurdle in the lower division and Saqen Seally in the upper division were the winners. Both students represented the Princess Margaret Secondary School.