Primary Literacy Advisor

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact Peace Corps domestically and internationally.

The information provided for each assignment is subject to change, including the tentative departure date.

Project Description

Imagine working with Zidan, a nine year old student at the primary school. Zidan is very shy and dislikes reading simply because he does not know how to do so. You slowly begin to share about yourself to get him to trust you. Under your guidance, Zidan continues to make slow but steady progress. His teachers and parents are very pleased with his progress and he knows it. His walk seems taller, he has been in fewer fights and his confidence level is blooming.

This could be your story. Learn more about the Education Sector in the segment below and come join us.

The Primary Literacy Project has been created to bolster the government of Jamaica's efforts to meet its vision of having all students at the primary level of the education system literate. The three goals of the project are:

1. To assist primary schools students, especially those who are performing below grade level, to develop an interest in literacy; improve academic performance and strengthen life skills.
2. To assist primary schools teachers to increase their use of effective practices in classroom management; instructional planning and preparation; lesson delivery and assessment practices to facilitate student learning and provide continued advancement in literacy.
3. To increase engagement of parents in activities that support and promote literacy of their primary school aged children.

Primary Literacy Advisors work under the support of the Ministry of Education and under the supervision of the assigned school principal or their designee. They work Monday to Friday using creative, student-centered strategies to ignite a love of reading, writing and comprehension to develop a strong foundation for each child’s future academic achievement.

COVID-19 Volunteer Activities

In the past year, the world has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a Volunteer, you will be trained in how to best protect yourself from COVID-19 exposure and understand the impact of and steps to reduce stigma related to COVID-19. You may also have the opportunity to engage with your community on implementing or enhancing COVID-19 mitigation activities, such as COVID-19 prevention and risk reduction strategies including social distancing, hand washing, mask wearing, addressing myths and misconceptions related to these practices, and vaccine hesitancy. Activities will be tailored to address the COVID-19 circumstances in the communities where you will serve.

Required Skills

Qualified candidates will have a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline and a strong desire to teach English.

Desired Skills

Competitive applicants will have:
• Experience in early childhood development, elementary education or youth development. This includes elementary education/literacy, life skills education, parent education/support, social work, library studies and/or creative arts.
• Experience teaching/tutoring in areas of reading, writing and comprehension.
• Experience in classroom and behavioral management.
• Experience working with students, teaching a second language, or ESL tutoring.
• Experience working with children between the ages of six and twelve.

Required Language Skills

There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position.

There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position, however you will be required to learn Patwa for successful safety, security and integration. By the end of Pre-Service Training you will be expected to have an Intermediate Low Patwa proficiency. Please take a moment to review the information below to find out more on how Patwa will be utilized during service.

Jamaica is a bilingual country. English (Standard Jamaican English) is the official language, however there is also a Creole known as the Jamaican Patwa which is the language spoken throughout Jamaica, especially in rural areas. While a few Jamaicans, especially those living in urban areas, move easily between Jamaican Patwa and English, the majority speak neither of these in their pure forms. The language and cultural training presented throughout the 27-month training continuum will help prepare you to speak and understand Jamaican Patwa and culture. This is crucial in order to facilitate smooth and successful integration into your community. All Trainees will be required to demonstrate a certain level of language proficiency (assessed through the Language Proficiency Interview) in order to successfully complete training.

Living Conditions

All Volunteers live in a host family setting for the duration of their service. The majority of community assignments are in rural areas, predominantly in the interior and mountainous regions of the island. The standard of living varies widely within rural and even deep rural communities. The most common living situations are a room in a home with a Jamaican family with access to a shared bathroom and kitchen. Cellular phone coverage is available in most rural communities, but there may not be internet access. Your host family will assist you with orientation in your community, Jamaican home life, and cross-cultural adjustment during Pre-Service Training and in your assigned community.

Most Volunteers have indoor plumbing with either running water or catchment rainwater. There is rarely hot water and bathing with cold water is the norm. Water supplies can be intermittent and scarce during severe drought periods so be prepared to practice water conservation, including taking bucket baths. Laundry is often washed by hand in a sink or a washtub or even in a river. Electricity is present island-wide, except in very remote areas. There is some disparity between the amenities that each Volunteer will have with their assigned host families, however all Volunteers will have access to basic amenities, including a stove and refrigerator. Due to scarcity and high prices, conservation of electricity and water is critical while living with Jamaican host families.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Jamaica: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, and safety — including crime statistics [PDF] — in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.

Couples Information

Jamaica happily accepts couples. Couples must have one person from the Agriculture sector, and one person from the Primary Literacy (Education) sector. Therefore your partner should apply and qualify for:
Sustainable Agriculture Facilitator

Couples will live in the same community, but will work on different projects. Couples will live together with a host family during both Pre-Service Training and service.

Medical Considerations

Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the clearance process and other health conditions that are difficult to accommodate in Peace Corps service.


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