i Jun 8th No Comments by

ALTA is greatly honoured to receive the NGC Above and Beyond award, and to follow in the footsteps of previous awardees, Olympian Hasely Crawford and Pat Bishop, musician and visual artist. Not unlike these exemplars, ALTA’s students, though challenged by literacy, often have an aptitude for sports and the arts.

Selecting ALTA for this award shows that NGC is thinking above and beyond the norm, switching from honouring an individual of world renown to a whole group of persons who are largely unnoticed – since those with low literacy are on the margins of society, of employment, of life. This award brings them centre stage in the best possible way.

As this year’s recipient, ALTA undertakes three major projects under the theme “Stand Tall,” which captures the energy and resilience of our adult learners as they confront the obstacles between them and their education goals.

Stand Tall – I am ALTA aims to redefine literacy as a skill just like any other, thereby reducing, if not eliminating, the stigma surrounding low literacy. Stand Tall also offers two new initiatives to improve reading and spelling.

First, the ALTA Online pilot: ALTA Online is a web-based version of the ALTA literacy programme. After five long years, faithfully supported by Republic Bank Power to Make a Difference, ALTA Online is ready for users, and NGC is enabling us to pilot ALTA Online with 220 users in two phases. The UWI Campus Office of Planning and Institutional Research is partnering with ALTA to develop evaluation tools and collate and analyse findings. This systematic testing is critical to the success of ALTA Online. The ALTA Online pilot takes us one step closer to independent literacy learning.

The second Stand Tall project aids spelling instruction in schools by donating ALTA Spelling Dictionaries to low-performing primary and secondary schools; and by producing the ALTA Phonics Chart. The ALTA phonics chart will act as a quick reference visual aid in classrooms and homes. This is a phonics chart with a difference as it addresses the spelling needs of speakers of Caribbean English.

The third project, Stand Tall – I am ALTA, shows us the people – not just the issue; their sometimes overwhelming challenges; their courage; their step by step transformation so they do more than just keep standing – they stand tall. In the words of ALTA student Alycia Bernard, “I will succeed because I have all the support I need. In order for things to change, we must change.”

The Stand Tall – Above and Beyond award is a wondrous gift to see ALTA through these uncertain times. Thank you NGC for this award to our students, our volunteer tutors, our nation. Together, we stand tall!

If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a tutor, joining a class, or becoming a sponsor, call 624-2582 or email

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