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Dec 17, 2012

Restore Belize receives over $300,000 for Computer Assisted Learning

The Taiwanese Embassy stepped up to the plate today and delivered computers as well as software to Restore Belize.  The equipment will be used for the Computer Assisted Learning Program, proposing to use a life cycle approach to improving the literacy skills of children and their families. News Five’s Delahnie Bain reports.

 

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

Restore Belize is embarking on a literacy program with the full support of the Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan), which has donated over three hundred thousand dollars. The funds were used to purchase one hundred computers as well as educational software, which were handed over today.

 

Mary Vasquez

Mary Vasquez, Director, Restore Belize

“One hundred Acer computers, the Veriton all in one model, one of the brand new space saving models as well as a national master license for computer assisted learning software, the Academy of Reading and the Academy of Math. But this is not really a gift of hardware or software; this is a gift of empowerment for the people of Belize. This is a gift of empowerment for every Belizean who is struggling with literacy, who is struggling with numeracy.”

 

David Wu

David Wu, Ambassador, Republic of China (Taiwan)

“This is the second time that my embassy that once again we continue to support the very significant Restore Belize Project by donating these one hundred computers. But this time, it is even more significant, the software provided by our partners. These software and computers will be used for computer assisted learning for the children and their families here in Belize.”

 

According to Restore Belize Director, Mary Vasquez, improving literacy among the young people is a step toward curbing the violence on the streets.

 

Mary Vasquez

“What does violence have to do with Literacy? Well, international studies have shown very clearly that once you have a high level of academic attainment, you have a low level of street violence. So to put it simply, the further people go in school; the further our youth go in school and the more successful they are academically, the less violence there will be on the street. What is happening in Belize today is that the literacy levels of which we were once so proud are falling and so our students are feeling incompetent at school, our students are dropping out of school and one of the reasons is frustration due to poor academic performance.”

 

But it’s only the younger students who will be learning to read; teenagers and adults can also take advantage of the program.

 

Mary Vasquez

“This tool will be used to help primary school students, who have been tested to be below the required level of reading. This is where the Literacy Unit comes in. They have a very wonderful technical team that has done assessments of reading skills throughout Belize and they can tell us very clearly where the children are not up to mark. These children targeted for the use of this software to bring them up to mark at an early age. But for those who have already dropped out of school, for those teenagers who are struggling and are embarrassed when they go to a skills training program and they can’t cope with it because they are not literate and they are embarrassed to say that. For them, this will be a one on one learning experience. It is a self paced program where without embarrassment; they can improve their literacy skills.”

 

The Computer Assisted Learning program also has support from the Ministry of Education and the Canadian Organization, Literacy without Borders.

 

Randy Boissaonnault

Randy Boissaonnault, Executive Director, Literacy without Borders

“Since March of 2010, we have walked step by step with Belizeans looking to help their fellow Belizeans learn to read. My pledge is that we will continue to do so. Early in 2013, Literacy without Borders will collaborate with Vince and his Colleagues to conduct the training for the Academy of Reading and the Academy of Math. Later in 2013, we will work with our partners across Belize to see other successful literacy programs implemented in country such as Rhymes that Bind. And over time, Literacy without Borders will train people from abroad and within Belize to volunteer in communities to support these efforts.”

 

The faces of the campaign will be Nia Arthurs, who has always loved reading and Michael Young, one of the persons who will benefit from the software. Young says he never found literacy important until the scenario of having a child in school was raised.

 

Michael Young

Michael Young, Literacy Advocate

“I mi just look pan it like I noh have to read cause den I done skim my way through life and thing, I noh have to read. I reach so far without I noh need it. So I neva look pan it like, wah day wah come dat your kid wah look pan you, Michael, and seh dad help me wid mi home work. Well, son I can’t help you cause I noh know how fi read. You know how bad dat wah look? You know how bad I wah feel?  If ih could happen, like di man seh ih work fi everybody, I wah mek ih work fi me. I wah mek ih work fi me.”

 

Nia Arthurs

Nia Arthurs, Literacy Advocate

“This program will really open new doors and not only to children and teenagers, but also to adults. And you don’t even have to love reading but I want everyone to have the opportunity to really broaden their scopes and to really experience the joy of reading, even you don’t love it like I love it.”

 

It is expected that around five hundred persons will be better readers at the end of the first year of the program. Delahnie Bain for News Five.

 

A portion of the donated funds will also be used provide training and consultancy for the program.

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1 Response for “Restore Belize receives over $300,000 for Computer Assisted Learning”

  1. Storm says:

    Wow, what a generous gift from our Taiwanese friends.

    These computers are a resource that can seriously enhance and empower the students who are lucky enough to have access to them.

    Good education is the key to prosperity and a good life.

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