USP Tuvalu Campus awards students with reading certificates

A TOTAL of ninety-five (95) students from Funafuti Primary School were awarded with certificates for completing a two-weeklong Literacy program at The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Tuvalu Campus on 31 August 2018.

Dr. Rosiana Lagi, USP Tuvalu Campus Director, initiated the program, which was an outcome of a research, carried out by Certificate in Teaching students at the Tuvalu Campus.

Initially, 60 slow and non-readers from classes 5 – 8 were handpicked from the two primary schools in Funafuti – SDA Primary School and Nauti Primary School to attend the program.

“Our main purpose was to assist these students to improve their basic reading skills and the program was part of our Community Engagement program, in line with Priority Area 5 of the USP Strategic Plan,” Dr Lagi explained.

Of the 60 handpicked, only 40 attended the program however concerned parents brought their children in thereby increasing the number of students to 95, and because of the high numbers, the program was moved to Nauti Primary School instead of USP Tuvalu Campus as initially planned.

The program was taught by five (5) very experienced Fijian retired teachers, Vinaina Gasau, Emeline Naivunivuni, Timaima Tokonibau, Arieta Veivuke and Teresia, who sacrificed and volunteered their time.

Two months prior to the program, the teachers prepared their teaching resources and lessons using available relevant resources.

According to Mrs. Tokonibau, “it was a great experience for us.  While we were able to assist these students to develop their reading basic skills and be able to read, we were also able to expand our teaching strategies to be inclusive of all levels and abilities”.

The Award ceremony was officiated by Honorable Mr. Namoliki Sualiki Nemia, the former Acting Minister of Education and current Minister for Home Affairs, who commended the program and thanked the USP Tuvalu Campus for the initiative.

His Excellency Marc Su, the Ambassador ROC (Taiwan) to Tuvalu stated that the program was a rewarding initiative.

Also present were Tuvalu government Secretaries and officials, Ekalesia Tuvalu Church Minister, Funafuti Kaupule Secretary, parents and USP Staff and students.

In her address, Dr Lagi highlighted the significance of literacy skills in learning, saying that not being able to understand what is taught in school can be discouraging and may lead to students dropping out of school.

She stated that the program was developed and implemented in order to ensure that students enjoy learning and are able to read, comprehend, think critically and make wise decisions in life.

Dr Lagi acknowledged the program’s sponsors, the Funafuti Kaupule and island community, the Head Teachers of the two primary schools, the participants’ parents, USP Staff and the Ministry of Education and Tuvalu Government for their continuous support for USP and its programs.

Parents, students and head teachers of the two primary schools were appreciative of the program and one of its outcomes was that both the schools set aside a classroom for reading, apart from their school libraries.

Taasi Pitoi, one of the parents of a participant said, “I see a change in my son’s attitude towards reading now.  He is reading anything he can grab hold of that is readable.  He is even reading the advertisements on the Fiji Times and this is very encouraging”.

The program was co-funded by the Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to Tuvalu and Mackenzie Pty Ltd.  In addition, the support of the Funafuti Island Kaupule (Council) and the Head Teachers of the two primary schools in Funafuti were an added boost to the program.

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