Ocean literacy gets a welcome boost

The Central Caribbean Marine
Institute is upgrading its ocean literacy campaign for schools with new and
improved teacher support packs that will enable educators to better teach
primary school children about Cayman’s marine life.

The Rotary Club of Grand Cayman
recently donated $5,000 to the institute’s Ocean Literacy programme, which was
developed by CCMI, KPMG and Caribbean Utilities Company.

The programme’s aim is to increase
primary school students’ awareness and general knowledge of ocean literacy and
to educate all Cayman Islands students in the subject of ocean literacy by the
time they are 12.

Thirty teachers were trained by
CCMI in 2009, supported by the teacher manual ‘Our Ocean Planet”. This year,
the programme is developing more user-friendly resources to support teachers,
which will be ready to launch in September.

Kate Pellow, marketing and
development director from CCMI, which is based on Little Cayman, said the new
programme would be “turnkey”. “That means the teachers don’t have to be experts
on the subject, they can just literally pick up the pack, open it up and start
teaching.”

Ms Pellow said ocean literacy was a
critical subject for the Cayman Islands and young students needed to have a
good understanding of the issues facing their environment.

“Ocean literacy is not very well
covered in the curriculum,” Ms Pellow acknowledged, but she hoped that this
would change in the future.

“We need to begin protecting the
ocean environment and the precious ecosystems related to the ocean now, to
ensure a sustainable future. We are developing the ocean literacy programme to
become more user friendly in classrooms. Support from long-term ocean literacy
sponsors KPMG and CUC, plus this generous donation from the Rotary Club Grand
Cayman allows the project to grow and develop, enabling teachers to ensure
students are ocean literate,” she added.

The Rotary Club Grand Cayman rates
literacy levels in Cayman as one of its priorities, said its president,
Catherine Chesnut.

“The Rotary the world over promotes
literacy in any form. Last year, we [the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman] supported
CCMI holiday weekends to Little Cayman as we felt it was important for our
youth to learn more about marine conservation. 

“This year, CCMI has taken the
learning a step further, and we are delighted to have the opportunity to
support their new initiative. Promoting both literacy and the environmental is
consistent with the focus of Rotary for service projects within the community,”
she said.