The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Bank have commended the Ministry of Education under the leadership of Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, for launching the completed Atlantic Reader series.

UNICEF’s Deputy Representative to Guyana and Suriname, Mr. Irfan Akhtar, who attended the launch on Friday virtually on the Zoom platform, said that he believes the reader series is an important tool to support the Guyanese children in their journey to achieve excellence in literacy and performance. He said that he was happy to learn that the books will be available in digital form on the Ministry’s website so that anyone can access them 20220131 18
He said, “This is a true example of digitalisation in the education system. We are talking always about digitalisation, about modernisation, but today we witness that there is a concrete example by the Ministry of Education under the leadership of the Honourable Minister of Education. This is indeed a very good initiative, especially during this COVID pandemic time, ensuring that every child learns and is literate and prepared for work in life.”
Mr. Akhtar noted that due to the pandemic, there has been learning loss. He commended the Ministry for its efforts to ensure every child can access learning materials online and also for reopening schools to have pupils back into the physical school environment.

The UNICEF Representative said too that the launch of the books is also important for the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goal, GOAL Four, to ensure inclusive, equitable and quality education and to promote lifelong learning and opportunities for all.
He said that Guyana can now help other countries to learn from its experiences and its resources in the form of the reader series. Mr. Akhtar said that UNICEF remains committed to supporting the Ministry of Education under the leadership of the Education Minister. “I believe together, we can ensure that every child learns wherever they are through using different channels, different materials,” Mr. Akhtar remarked.

During brief remarks at Friday’s launch of the Series, Education Specialist at the World Bank, Ms. Ingrid Bjerke, said that that 53 percent of children in the developing world either cannot read or understand a story by the age of 10. She added that following the school closures due to the pandemic, this figure could rise to 70 20220131 16
Ms. Bjerke stated that children have the inherent ability to learn any language, which they are exposed to and as such, one of the key elements to developing literacy skills is access to books and reading material.
“These books are designed to be appropriate for children in relation to grades and moreover are appropriate for the local context. Finally, the stories are designed to be captivating and fostering a love of reading is to support the children’s progress in literacy.
As such, I want to commend the Minister of Education, the Chief Education Officer, Assistant Chief Education Officer and everybody else that we’ve heard from today (Friday), and everybody else in the ministry who was part of this very important initiative.”
The Atlantic Readers Series, which is the brainchild of Minister Manickchand, is a local book series designed for students in Grades One to Six. The completed series comprises of six reader books along with workbooks and was launched at the Redeemer Primary School in Georgetown on Friday.