International Literacy Day launched in Accra

Speakers at the launch of International Literacy Day agreed that no nation could make any meaningful development with a population dominated by non-literates.

They contended that peace and literacy were interdependent and indivisible and each required the other for national development to thrive successfully.

The speakers agreed that functional literacy did not just address the vertical needs of a country but also played an important role in enhancing corporate existence and ensuring peace and stability at all times.

The launch in Accra was on the theme, “Literacy – Our Peace, Our Strength for Sustainable Development.”

The United Nations (UN) International Literacy Day annually falls on September 8 to raise people’s awareness of, and concern for, literacy issues in the world.

Deputy Minister of Education (Tertiary), Ms Elizabeth Amoah Tetteh launching the day, said though functional literacy was not a onetime stop measure to stop leakage in educational delivery, it was part of a two- prong approach to continuously mop all traits of illiteracy to uplift the minds of non-literates and bring them on board for national development.

According to her countries such as USA, Germany and France had bade farewell to conflicts and were now on the highway of progressive economic development and expressed the hope that it should not take Africa and particularly Ghana to realise that the cardinal key that had brought peace and development to developed countries was literacy.

Ms Tetteh said studies had shown that there was a high level of co-relationship between literacy and peace as well as literacy and development, adding that the role of the Non-Formal Education and other literacy providers in the creation of peace and sustainable development was crucial to the country’s peace, socio-economic and political development.

However, she noted that with illiteracy population of 46 per cent there was no doubt that the country was facing serious sets-backs in its drive to promote peace and sustainable development and called on all stakeholders to get on board to ensure that all non-literates in the country became literate.

Mr Charles Darlington Afare, Acting Director of Non-Formal Education Division of the Ministry of Education said with the high rate illiterate society the most important strategic option should be a rigorous provision of education for all through the provision of formal and non-formal means of learning for children, adolescents and adults.

He said it was for this reason that the Ministry was calling on local sponsors and the international donor community to support the Division in its plan towards the success of decreasing illiteracy in Ghana, especially among women and children and in addition, develop a national plan that would promote literacy in the country.

Mr Afare said to some people the definition of peace was the absence of war but he was of the view that the absence of semi-literate with no avenues for further learning was fuel made ready to combust inequity, conflict and corruption that had the potential to eroding peace.

Dr Iyabode Olusanmi, UNICEF Representative in Ghana said education and literacy were human rights with immense strength to transform and provide the foundation for equity, freedom, democracy and sustainable human development.

“UNICEF believes in the saying that ‘Knowledge is Power’ and convinced that it is mainly education that can promote the rights of citizens, especially vulnerable groups like women and minority groups”.

She noted that an increase in literate adults was likely to result in an increase in the individuals campaigning for education as a fundamental human right that would lead to the empowerment of vulnerable and marginalised groups in the society.

Dr Olusanmi explained that this would promote their participation in political and economic activities, adding that over the past few years “sustainable development” had emerged as a result of the development concept and it was through education that development could be promoted and sustained.

She reiterated that for a country to have sustainable development, there must be peace and not only resources such as human, material and financial, and commended Ghana‘s efforts to achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 2 and 3.

These are universal access to basic education and improving gender parity in education.

“We also look to continuing to work more closely with the Government to improve the quality of education, befitting Ghana’s middle income status,” Dr Olusanmi added.

Source: GNA

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