Close Menu

Caribbean Journal of Education

Defining Literacy for Jamaica Issues in Theory and Practice

Publication Date: 
April 1998

Refocusing on Literacy Jamaica has recently refocused its energies on literacy. The expressed concern through the media has been about those graduating from the school system (Literacy in Schools, by Kenford Brown, The Gleaner, September 1997, B6), as well as those in the workplace (High Rate of Illiteracy, by Judith Lewis, Jamaica Herald, 23 May 1994). The introduction of a grade 4 literacy test which children must pass in order to move on to the next grade has raised the tempo of the debate. The Jamaican response to the literacy concerns has been twofold. One strategy of the government has been to continue initiating and supporting donor-assisted literacy projects. The other, more recent response was to commission a study, carried out by a colleague and myself, of the background of literacy development in Jamaica. The remit from the Ministry of Education and Culture (MOE&C) was to review all existing policies for literacy and formulate a Plan of Action for the next five years (Bryan and Mitchell 1999). 

Top of Page