Bocas Lit Fest/COSTAATT hands over Write Away! programme to Education Ministry

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

2023 OCM Bocas Prize longlist covers – Image courtesy Bocas Lit Fest

Bocas Lit Fest/COSTAATT has handed over its Write Away! young adult literature programme to the Education Ministry. The ceremonial handing over took place on Tuesday at the Education Ministry on St Vincent Street, Port of Spain.

Write Away! is a digital tool available to all secondary schools through the Education Ministry School Learning Management System to encourage reading, writing and online learning among secondary school students.

It began in 2021 and taught students about fiction before moving on to poetry in 2022 through a series of videos, workbooks and supporting materials for teachers. This year, Write Away! Will focus on non-fiction writing – letter-writing, business proposals, reporting and presentations.

CEO of Bocas Lit Fest Jean-Claude Cournand said, “The current programme provides an array of resources and opportunities to prepare students for real-life challenges and professional pursuits.”

He added that students will be given access to a five-part video series on narrative, descriptive, persuasive, expository and creative non-fiction writing.

President of COSTAATT Dr Keith Nurse said, “When I look at the areas that are going to be trained in, I feel that we are in the right kind of partnership.”

Stephan Lalonde, human resources and director on the board of the Scotiabank Foundation said this is going to create a positive lasting impact in people’s lives.

In her address, Education Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly said, “Literacy goes far beyond than just being able to recite your alphabet and being able to recognise your words. It’s about reading, understanding, being able to get information and use it in positive ways, to understand it for what it is.”

She said in the age of fake news, if people are not versed in literacy, then our democracy is at threat because the decisions pertinent to our governance would not be made.

Gadsby-Dolly added, “At the Ministry of Education, we are discussing right now and will be discussing with our stakeholders very soon the increase of time for reading in school. This is something that is new, but during the course of time and covid19, has fallen away, but our teachers and students have to put aside time for reading because we are losing it and we cannot afford as a democratic society to lose that.”