The Dominican Republic is a country which, for a long time was not committed to expected levels of investment in education, both in comparison to other countries in the region and on a wider international scale. While, recently, the focus on the level of investment in education has increased, the Dominican Republic still has a long way to go. Adult literacy currently stands at 89% (UNICEF 2003-2008) but this statistic does not reflect the wider challenges of the education system.
To read more about education in the Dominican Republic please see our blog entry on this here.
In 2011 we started a book club and was established in the form of a book club, led by our volunteers and consisted of weekly readings in Spanish followed by exercises and games on new words and concepts with a view to encouraging reading and improving literacy. The course was piloted in 2011, with students reading the first Harry Potter book in Spanish. The course was successfully repeated in 2012 when the children read The Twits (Los Cretinos) by Roald Dahl.You can read about these projects here and here.
After careful evaluation of the cost and benefit of this project we have decided to stop running this as a yearly project but we have lot lost our passion for improving literacy. We are still looking at ways to enhance the development of key skills such as literacy, both conventional literacy and technological.
In 2013 a former volunteer, Eva Perez collected donations books and organised for them to be sent to the Dominican Republic. This amazing work meant that Bethany was able to help Supporting Guasa set up a small but accessible library in one of the more remote “campos” (rural communities). You can read about this here.
From 2015 onwards, we are aiming to make literacy and numeracy a key (and explicit structure) of our lesson planning.