In observance of International Literacy Day 2021, the USAID Read Liberia Activity, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, has organized a series of activities leading up to the day which falls on Wednesday. September 8 and beyond.
As part of the activities, fifteen reading teachers across the six USAID Read Liberia Activity target counties of Lofa, Bong, Montserrado, Grand Bassa, Margibi, and Nimba were recently honored for their outstanding commitment to the teaching of reading.
Following hundreds of nominations and a rigorous vetting process, the award winners were given certificates and non-monetary incentive awards provided by private sector partners from these counties.
The awards organized by the USAID Read Liberia Activity in coordination with the Ministry of Education, focus on improving teacher instructional practice and school support of reading. The incentive awards are offered to up to two schools and four teachers per district/ county via a competitive process based on set criteria.
The teacher award categories include (1) Excellence in the Teaching of Reading (2) Outstanding New Reading Teacher (3) Excellence in addressing special needs in the Teaching of Reading and (4) Outstanding Contribution to the Teaching of Reading. The school awards categories are: (1) Outstanding Leadership in Teaching and Learning and (2) Excellence in the Teaching of Early Grade Reading(EGR)
Speaking at the first of six awards ceremonies in Gbarnga, Bong County on Wednesday, August 25, 2021, the Senior Reading Director of USAID Read Liberia Activity, Mrs. Patience U. Suah expressed thanks to the authorities of Bong County for their support and, collaboration to motivate teachers in the county. She encouraged the award winners to continue to support students and young people learning despite unprecedented challenges. Mrs. Suah said, “We hope the celebrations today show how much you are appreciated, and that your hard work has not gone unnoticed nor unrecognized.”
She then urged the students to remain in school and focus on their studies. Mrs. Suah thanked the private sector partners for their continuous support to Early Grade Reading (EGR) and urged other private sector partners who have not supported EGR to ensure that all “hands are on deck”.
Also speaking at the awards ceremony in Gbarnga, a representative of the Private Sector, Mr. S. Tornorlah Varpilah -CEO, Passion Hotel in Bong County, expressed the private sector’s support to EGR activities and called on other private sector institutions to support EGR activities as it is the foundation for learning. Mr. Varpilah on behalf of the Passion Hotel offered the four award winners in Bong County one-night free lodging at the Passion Hotel. He said this was his business own way of appreciating the award winners’ contributions to the education sector.
At a separate awards program in Kakata City, Margibi County, Mayor Emmanuel Goll, Sr., praised Read Liberia for the intervention in schools in Margibi County and acknowledged the uniqueness of the awards event. He said, the event was the first of its kind in Margibi County and asked Read Liberia’s indulgence to adapt the idea for subsequent imitation in Margibi County.
The program in Margibi was attended by the County Education Officer (CEO) Stephen Toe, George K. Mambu, Resident DEO; Stephen Morlu, DEO/Gibi District; Hon. Kpakanay Gbankpala, County Inspector representing the County Superintendent; David Williams, Margibi County PTA Chair; Sumo Harris, National Teacher Association of Liberia (NTAL) Margibi Branch; students, teachers, principals, and parents.
The award programs continued in Grand Bassa and Nimba Counties of Friday, August 27, 2021, Montserrado and Lofa are scheduled for early September, while Bong and Margibi were held on Wednesday, August 25, 2021. A formal program commemorating International Literacy Day takes place on Wednesday, September 8, 2021, at the Ganta United Methodist High School Auditorium. It is expected to bring together education stakeholders, parents, CEOs, DEOs, and representatives of the private sector.
Read Liberia is a five-year activity designed to improve early grade reading skills for Liberian students in grades one and two and has pilot-tested emergent literacy skills for kindergarten students in public schools in six targeted counties: Lofa, Bong, Grand Bassa, Nimba, Margibi, and Montserrado. At the conclusion of the Read Liberia Activity, it is expected that the oral vocabulary of kindergarten students will be improved and that grades one and two students will read grade-level text with fluency and comprehension.