PORT-AU-PRINCE – The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched a project to promote reading among young students in Haiti.
The initiative, Tout Timoun Ap Li (TOTAL), which means “All Children Reading,” will support the Haitian Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training’s efforts to increase the number of young children reading.
The TOTAL project is in response to USAID’s worldwide Education Strategy, which calls for 100 million children to be reading by 2015. TOTAL will support more than 28,000 Haitian children in first through third grades, developing materials and curricula that allow them to more easily learn how to read. The program will incorporate evidence-based curricula into 300 schools and will meet international standards for literacy instruction, USAID said in a Wednesday’s news release.
TOTAL will also train more than 900 teachers to provide quality reading instruction and incorporate local communities to support reading.
Surveys indicate that 35 percent of Haitian youth are illiterate, and that the average Haitian child spends less than four years in school. Education is critical to broad-based economic growth, is required for healthy democratic practices, and enables people to make smarter choices affecting their health and household welfare, USAID said.
Loretta Garden, the USAID Haiti Education Office chief, said: “Reading should not be a privilege, but a right for every child. USAID and all its partners are responsible to develop innovative materials as well as effective methodology, under the leadership of the Ministry of Education. We must also train the teachers who are the light leading our children to a brighter future.”
Under Haitian President Michel Martelly, the education ministry is focusing on universal education — providing opportunities to learn for all Haitian children.
In another reading promotion, a worldwide initiative called “All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development,” involving USAID, the charity World Vision and the Australian government’s AusAID, recently announced winning innovations in its grants competition. Two of the 32 finalists will implement projects in Haiti, including the USAID-supported L’Ecole Supérieure d’Infotronique d’Haïti. This project will help primary school teachers produce digital reading content in Creole and enhance the use of interactive whiteboards in Haitian schools.