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education, human resource development, youth and sports for the continuous development for the people of St. Lucia.” In order to accomplish this mission, the Ministry has six major objectives, which are as follows:

  • 1.

    To articulate, formulate, implement and administer education policies geared towards human resource development in St. Lucia.

  • 2.

    To ensure access and deliver quality education to all students from early childhood to adult levels.

  • 3.

    To ensure effective staff management and utilisation for efficient operation of the education system.

  • 4.

    To develop, review and modify curriculum materials to respond to socio-economic and technological changes in the society.

  • 5.

    To establish and administer minimum standards to evaluate institutional programmes.

  • 6.

    To encourage and foster appreciation and pride for national and cultural values and norms.

Literacy Programmes in the General Adult Population

In 1990, a National Literacy Survey was conducted using 49,620 respondents between the ages of 15- 65; the sample taken from a general population of 154,020 (1999 estimate taken from the U.S. Bureau of the Census). The majority of the respondents were within the 21-25 age group (37%) and the 15-20 age group (18%). The results of the survey showed that 54.1% of St. Lucian adults were literate, 18.7% functionally literate, and 27.2% not literate. It also showed that most of the respondents in the non-literate category were between the ages of 15-24 years (St. Lucia. Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development, Youth and Sports, 1999).

The St. Lucian government, in its attempt to eradicate illiteracy, established the Adult Education and Literacy Programme in 1984. This programme aims to enhance of the potential of the disadvantaged and marginalised, so that they may also make meaningful contributions towards society’s development. In other words, assisting illiterate adults to acquire the basic knowledge and skills of numeracy and literacy.

The emphasis on numeracy and expression in the 1990s resulted in the expansion of the project; from 11 centres in 1980 to 22 at present, with an enrolment of 1,100 individuals. The key aims of the literacy programme are:

  • To enable the individual to acquire basic knowledge and skills of numeracy, and understanding, speaking, writing, and reading the English language.

  • To enhance the individual’s capacity and potential for personal development, and the quality of his or her contribution to the family, community, and society, through participation and response to situations demanding literacy.

  • To establish literacy learning centres.

Literacy training for adults is fundamentally concerned with oral and written communication. Thus, the specific objectives are to get adults to understand the English language; effectively communicate in the language; read and comprehend materials in the language; and be able to write short paragraphs of four to five lines using simple English. At the end of the programme, participants should be able to fill out forms needed in society’s everyday activities, read labels and signs, and read and write a simple letter on their own. Adult classes are held twice weekly, run by 101 facilitators and managed by the Ministry. There are three curriculum guides: for Language Arts, Mathematics, and Continuing Education.

The above indicates that the St. Lucian government is very actively involved and committed to making adult literacy a reality. It provides a very structured and in-depth programme targeted at the reduction of adult illiteracy and meeting its EFA obligations.


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