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 emphasized 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 recognized 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.
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” emphasized 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.