Dili, February 26, 2013 — The Asia Foundation, in partnership with Fundasaun Alola, has launched the All Children Reading (ACR) initiative, an 18-month project generously supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The ACR project combines teacher training with the development of innovative new Tetun language educational materials, which give teachers the skills and tools necessary to teach children to read.
Education in Timor-Leste is at a critical juncture, with opportunities for groundbreaking and desperately needed progress in child literacy. Recognizing this, The Asia Foundation is pleased to announce its partnership with Fundasaun Alola, a non-profit, non-governmental organization operating in Timor-Leste that has extensive experience in education and sound expertise in training teachers and producing early literacy resources. The two organizations will also collaborate with professors from Australian Catholic University (ACU), a world class university, to develop high quality teacher training guides.
The project was launched at an official signing ceremony attended by the United States Ambassador to Timor-Leste Judith Fergin; USAID Mission Director Rick Scott; Interim Chief of Department for the National Institute of Teacher Training and Education Professionals (INFORDETE) Hipolito Menezes; Country Representative for The Asia Foundation Susan Marx; Fundasaun Alola CEO Teresa Verdial de Araujo; and teachers currently undertaking teacher training at Fundasaun Alola. Ambassador Fergin, Mr. Menezes, Ms. Marx and Ms. Verdial de Araujo addressed audience members to highlight the importance of reading in early education and to express hope for the positive impact of the project.
Welcoming the guests in Tetun, The Asia Foundation’s Susan Marx commented on the critical need for improving literacy among Timorese: “Despite relatively high enrollment in primary education in Timor-Leste, it is troubling that recent studies indicate the vast majority of first and second grade readers are unable to read even a single word at random in either of the official languages.” She thanked USAID for their support and Fundasaun Alola for their strong commitment to improving the lives of young Timorese students through targeted interventions such as these.
Following the signing of the letter of agreement by Ms. Marx and Ms. Verdial de Araujo, the distinguished guests visited a lively and interactive teacher training session facilitated by Fundasaun Alola, a fitting demonstration of the country’s huge potential for development in education.