The ABCs of progress

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- Angur Baba Joshi

Sep 8, 2017-

Literacy is the foundation for multi-dimensional personality development. Sustainable Development Goal 4 seeks to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. Despite 50 years of observing International Literacy Day on September 8, there are still millions of illiterates in the world, mostly in the developing countries. In Nepal, 20 percent of the population still cannot read and write. One interesting fact in this connection is that there are illiterate children with literate fathers, but no illiterate children with literate mothers. Therefore, it seems that women’s literacy programmes have to be expedited with double efforts. Any literate mother will do her best to see that her child is properly educated. It is satisfying to note that a working mother spends her earnings on her children’s food, clothing and education.

In 2016, the Global Alliance for Literacy was launched as a global commitment to promote literacy as a foundation for life-long learning. With such international commitment, it is hoped that the international community will see that the education target for 2030 is achieved. Mass awareness programmes for the promotion of literacy have to be implemented. And it is also expected that NGOs, INGOs, the media and the rest of the community extend their maximum cooperation in this global endeavour. 

Illiteracy eradication now needs innovative policies and programmes so that the target of 2030 is achieved. The best and the most effective means seem to be making education compulsory up to secondary level for all children. Poor parents may think it better to send their children to work than to school. Maybe the government should announce attractive offers to encourage such parents to send their children to school. This may not be necessary after some years when poverty has been eradicated.

Another method to make literacy classes more attractive, both for the children and adults, is to include more practical classes like yoga, cooking, and sewing. Such classes will improve their health, mental equipoise and intellectual sharpness plus skills which will be useful in their lives. The skill, commitment and dedication of literacy class teachers and use of audio-visual aids will go a long way in attracting and retaining students. Literacy as an instrument that empowers individuals and communities must be given great priority by the Department of Education of the government, especially in the developing countries, because “our determination to provide every woman and man with the skills, capacities and opportunities to become everything they wish, in dignity and respect, remains as firm as ever,” as said by the Unesco Director-General.

Published: 08-09-2017 08:29

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