Ministry of Education, Guyana

Monday, 09 September 2013 12:58

Gov’t to unveil 2014 literacy plan of action to reach every Guyanese

In observance of International World Literacy Day 2013, Education Minister, Priya Manickchand announced that the government and the Ministry is committed to unveiling a 2014 literacy plan of action and projected results, with a goal of working with everyone, to fulfill to every citizen the right of literacy.

She explained that it is even more urgent that citizens acquire and master the tenets of basic literacy skills and strengthen and expand these skills throughout their lives.
“We must sustain a culture of love for knowledge across this nation, we must inculcate in our Guyanese citizens an embrace of innovative thinking, of original ideas, of fresh exploration of the world of knowledge, ideas and information,” she said.
In recognition of the fact that the task before Guyana is of profound importance to the future, Minister Manickchand emphasised that a national literacy program must be crafted and implemented with a view to making each Guyanese citizen of every age, of every background, of every persuasion able to enhance their individual lives by being able to read and write.
“As Minister of Education, I extend to every Guyanese everywhere, here at home and in the Diaspora, from within the Government and across Parliament to the Opposition camps, to civic organisations, our school teachers, community and religious leaders, parents, business leaders, our young people our senior citizens – to every Guyanese, everywhere – my hand in invitation and cooperation to achieve this task,” she declared.
The World observes International Literacy Day 2013 with a sober task before it. The United Nations Literacy Decade, launched in 2003, ended last year with worldwide literacy still a cause for deep concern, despite a reduction in the global rate of illiteracy.
“Whilst the UN is drafting its evaluation of the programs that defined the Literacy Decade for release at the UN General Assembly this year, with a global Plan of Action to tackle the problem, we in Guyana face the daunting task of lifting our human resource capital to be able to perform at our optimal potential as a Guyanese nation, in the 21st century global village,” stated Education Minister, Priya Manickchand in her Literacy Day message.
The United Nations sees literacy as a fundamental human right, and the government has always recognised this right, and literacy has always been regarded as the foundation of a good education. “Education has always been at the forefront of our vision to develop this nation,” she noted.

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Since Dr Cheddi Jagan’s idea for the formation of the University of Guyana was made into reality, Guyana has thrived as a nation to stand tall, to be outstanding on the world stage in its literacy achievements and in educating Guyanese.
Over the past decades significant amounts of money have been expended on physical infrastructure, teacher training, providing teaching resources, and looking after the welfare of school children, across the country. Such is based on the Government budgeting well for education year after year, and has resulted in a young nation producing renowned leaders, great writers, internationally acclaimed intellectuals, accomplished thinkers and world class citizens.
“Our commitment and resolve to develop this nation on the solid foundation of education and literacy is an outstanding tribute to the visionaries who shaped us as a nation, always emphasising literacy and education…we need to recommit ourselves to this vision,” Minister Manickchand said.
However, the 21st century is unfolding a new global literacy paradigm which is even more challenging than the basic literacy needs of previous years. As communications technology sees the world becoming more and more a global village, as citizens of this new world are able to compete across borders for skilled human resource assets and original thinkers, as skilled Guyanese become more and more in demand in the developed world, “we face unprecedented challenges to train, keep and maintain a national pool of committed human resource capital that is world class” she stated.
The Minister highlighted that the Government recognises that a fully literate Guyanese society is the foundation upon which this nation can be developed. “We have demonstrated our commitment and dedication to the vision of literacy for our people,” she added.
The Minister illustrated that it’s a new world, with new challenges, where many children no longer like reading long text, where literature no longer plays a big role in a child’s imagination, where parents hardly read to their children anymore, where the village no longer raises the child.
“Yet, the Guyanese nation is resilient, ambitious and ready to take on this challenge…as Minister of Education, I commit to the nation all my energy to see that every Guyanese citizen become a global citizen embodying an educated imagination,” Minister Manickchand stated.
In this regard, the Ministry of Education will work hard to implement a dynamic literacy vision that is flexible and reaches every Guyanese.
In her message Irina Bokova Director-General of UNESCO on the occasion of International Literacy Day which is being celebrated under the theme “Literacies for the 21st century” emphasised that literacy is a basic right and an essential motor for human development that paves the way to autonomy, the acquisition of skills, cultural expression and full participation in society.
She noted that illiteracy in the world has fallen over the two decades, thanks to international efforts and work towards the Millennium Development Goals. Today, 84 percent of the world’s population can read and write, compared to 76 percent in 1990. In 20 years, the illiterate population has been reduced by more than 100 million people.
Behind these figures there are still serious inequalities. Two-thirds of the 774 million illiterate adults in the world are women. Most of the children and young people who do not go to school are girls. Fifty-seven million primary school-age children and 69 million secondary school-age children do not have the opportunity to attend.
“Even in economically developed countries, the proportion of the population lacking basic reading and writing skills is too high. This is a serious obstacle to individual fulfillment, to the development of societies and to mutual understanding between peoples,” Bokova said.
This situation is exacerbated by the rise of new technologies and modern knowledge societies that make the ability to read and write all the more essential.
“Literacy is much more than an educational priority – it is the ultimate investment in the future and the first step towards all the new forms of literacy required in the twenty first century…we wish to see a century where every child is able to read and to use this skill to gain autonomy,” she emphasised.
On this International Literacy Day, the UN is calling on governments to work together to achieve this dream which requires new funding, policies drawn up with the populations concerned, new and more innovative forms of action, taking full advantage of new technologies.

Article and images compliments of GINA

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