International Literacy Day is here with us once again. On September 8th, each year Ghana joins the rest of the world to celebrate International Literacy Day.
The Day was set aside by the United Nations (UN) as an annual event for evaluating literacy programmes and all actions taken by member countries of the UN to address the old age problem of illiteracy.
The annual event also acts as playing field for engaging stakeholders and providers of Literacy on how to quench illiteracy from the corridors of member countries. The atmosphere during the celebrations among literacy providers is one of fulfillment and joy as we take the opportunity to educate the public about the effect of illiteracy on the individual, community and nation. Literacy is indeed, in tune with what the good book said in Psalm 119:130, “The entrance of the word gives light and gives understanding to the simple”.
When compared to the bible quotation above, we can effectively say that “the entrance of literacy gives light and gives understanding to the simple”. Literacy gives light and without literacy the darkness which has engulfed non-literates, rural communities and developing countries will continue to deteriorate their conditions on daily basis. Literacy is an unseen light which brightens the corner of beneficiaries.
There is a truism in the saying that “no country can make any meaningful development if majority of its people are non-literates”. Current developmental trends require a continuous liberation of people from the doorsteps of illiteracy and ignorance to ensure that their rich human resources are tapped for sustainable development.
CHALLENGES OF THE 21ST CENTURY
The challenges of the 21st century are summed up in 7 out of the 8 Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s) i.e. eradicating extreme poverty and hunger; achieving universal primary education; promoting gender equality; reducing child mortality; improving maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases and ensuring environmental sustainability. Careful analysis of the MDGs shows that literacy is very fundamental in ensuring their realization. In addition, the technological and industrial hurricane blowing across the length and breadth of the globe require everyone to get abreast with the times through literacy.
The theme for the 2014 International Literacy Day celebration “Literacy and Sustainable Development” therefore serves as the focal point for accelerating the National Functional Literacy Programme to take up its role on the road-map for Ghana’s sustainable development. The gap for accelerating economic growth and sustainable development is literacy as it has been established that literacy has very strong links with development.
Any country pursuing development requires literacy on all fronts. Electronic- literacy, technological literacy, industrial literacy, financial literacy; legal literacy; environmental literacy and health literacy are some of the literacies required to propel Ghana’s industrial and technological growth and to sustain it. Development is useless if it is not sustained progressively. Development can only be sustained if literacy in all forms is also sustained. Literacy and development are like two sides of the same coin. If literacy is left out of the divide, the country will experience an introverted growth.
To facilitate sustainable development therefore, all stakeholders in communication, finance, law, industry, environment and health should partner the Non-Formal Education Division (NFED) and the Ghana Education Service (GES) of the Ministry of Education (MOE) to provide quality holistic literacy programme to address the country’s developmental literacy gaps.
Being literate is not enough. Literacy must be supported by a viable literate environment that can sustain knowledge, skills and experiences acquired by the educated and the literate in the society. As we mark International Literacy Day, the Ministry of Education will identify and map-out relevant governmental and non-governmental organizations with the potential competencies and drive to support her in the quest to implement a holistic tier functional literacy programme that will incorporate all the relevant literacies required to accelerate and sustain the country’s socio-economic and technological growth.
On International Literacy Day today, September 8th,we wish to extend our warmest greetings to all literacy providers and stakeholders in Ghana for their role in supporting sustainable development. We also extend our regards to all facilitators, supervisors, district, regional and national staff as well as partner agencies, community based organizations and donors for their role in providing lifelong quality literacy learning opportunities for our children and adults.
The 2014 International Literacy Day celebration will turn into a “closed tap” if it is regarded as a one-day event. Its significance will be felt if all stakeholders i.e. government, Literacy providers and donors sit together at a round table to map-out positive strategies for accelerating the reduction of illiteracy to single digits. This is the only way that literacy can play its desired role in sustainable development.
ISSUED JOINTLY BY: THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION, THE NON-FORMAL EDUCATION DIVISION, THE GHANA NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR UNESCO AND UNESCO COUNTRY OFFICE.
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