The Nain High School in St Elizabeth is one step closer to improving its literacy rate after receiving a $200,000 cash prize in the ‘JN Money Boasy School Competition’.
Principal, Stevon Sheriffe, said the funds will be used to refurbish the school’s Literacy Room.
At the handover ceremony held on November 10, Mr. Sheriffe was overjoyed as the JN Money team paid a visit to the institution. He noted that some students had been having reading challenges and while the school possesses a literacy room to provide support to the students, the facility was in need of remodeling but they lacked the funds to do the work.
“We want to give some support to these students so we decided that we were going to enter the competition because we need the money to retrofit the reading room to help them,” he explained.
Their efforts paid off.
The room, Mr. Sheriffe said, will be outfitted with a smart board, computers, technological gadgets and reading materials in an effort to raise the literacy levels among students.
He also noted that the school, which currently has a population of 369 students from first to sixth form, usually receives the students who face various challenges with the local school system and are performing below expectation.
News reports on the Jamaica Education Transformation Commission (JETC) report by Professor Orlando Patterson have pointed to troubling levels of inadequacy in literacy in schools across the country. The JETC report showed that most students at the primary level were barely literate. According to the JETC, the 2019 Primary Exit Profile (PEP) exam revealed that 33 per cent of students could not read or were barely reading, while more than half (56 per cent), struggled to write. Another 58 per cent could not or struggled to find information on a topic.
Sanya Wallace, Assistant General Manager at JN Money Services, owners and operators of the JN Money brand, expressed satisfaction with the intended use of the funds, pointing out that the competition was meant to provide more than fun and engagement for students, but an opportunity to enrich the school’s facilities and by extension the educational system, as the country celebrates its 60th year of independence.
“Schools play an integral role in the learning and socialization of our youth who later become adults in our society. However, it is no secret that several of our schools across the country require assistance to make the learning environment and experience a better one for both students and teachers. And so, it has been prudent for JN Money to give back to a school in need as part of our annual Back to School programme,” she pointed out.
Explaining how the competition worked, Miss Wallace outlined that schools across the country were invited to submit a jingle in the form of a video demonstrating how JN Money could assist to make their school ‘boasy’ – directly linked to the Jamaica 60 and Boasy with JN Money campaign
She informed that the videos were then posted to the JN Money’s Instagram page and the video with the most likes at the end of the voting period would be the winner.
The videos of three schools were posted: Denbigh High School in Clarendon, Cedar Grove Academy in St Catherine, and Nain High School, which came out on top with more than 4,200 likes.The voting period ran from October 20-31, 2022.
The students used the opportunity to creatively advocate for an improved reading room, and the message was received.
“Nain School a guh be the boasy school, fi di JN Money, fi di boasy school. Get the big money fi wi reading room. Mi seh reading maketh a man, reading mek yuh get a house and land, buy big house and car and van, so who nuh waah read, mek dem tan,” were some of the lyrics performed by the creative students and written by English, Literature and Drama teacher Mr. Crosdale.
“It was a collaborative effort as other teachers helped with the production and everyone including students and community members chimed in to get votes,” he said.