Tuesday, September 14, 2010

International Literacy Day celebrations commemorated with a National symposium and exhibition

The 2010 International Literacy Day Celebration has being commemorated with a Grand National Symposium and Exhibition. The program which was put together by the Non-Formal Education Division (NFED) of the Ministry of Education brought together key stakeholders such as Prof. Yaw Oheneba-Sakyi, Director, Institute of Continuing Education and Distance Learning, University of Ghana, Rev. Dr. Fred Deegbe, General Secretary, Christian Council of Ghana and Mrs. Gifty Baka, a Program Manager of Action Aid, Ghana who presented papers on the theme of the celebration “Functional Literacy – A Key to Job Creation and Poverty Reduction” and gave a profound insight into what Functional Literacy can do to create jobs and reduce poverty.

Speaking at the symposium in Accra last week, the Minister of Education Alex Tettey-Enyo said his ministry Ministry will support the establishment of a computer literacy and ICT Centers in the districts for the training of graduates of the NFLP as part of its post-literacy Program in order to open up job opportunities for the productive youth and especially women and girls seeking ways of creating wealth to improve their socio-economic conditions. This is in view of the fact that computer literacy itself provides thousands of job opportunities and is also a caveat for poverty reduction. “This era of information technology, literacy has gone beyond reading, writing and numeracy to include the use of ICT to identify sources of information in the global information super highway, the internet”.

“Am happy that plans are far advanced for the commencement of the NFED Vocational English Literacy Project in dress making and hairdressing which is expected to provide a building bridge for the professional development of learners in their requisite trades. If it proves successful, which I know it will, more trades such as masonry, carpentry, auto mechanics, joinery will be added” he said.

Mr. Tettey-Enyo said “it was virtually impossible for them to confidently lead the crusade to sweep illiteracy out of dear country and wish to confidently affirm that m, in order to construct a smooth road for our socio-economic development, it is imperative for all and sundry to put our shoulders to the wheel to ensure that the burden being exerted on the country’s economy by illiteracy is reduced if not totally eliminated. The pace of the NFLP in ensuring the eradication of illiteracy in Ghana is too slow and need to be accelerated a bit faster. I have noted with serious concern the current inadequate budget allocation to the NFED which is making y Ministry will take a critical look at increasing the budget allocation to NFED. In addition, my Ministry is in the process of sourcing external donor funding for the implementation of the Third Phase of the NFLP. We therefore invite all donor agencies interested in the development and progresses of this country to take up the challenge of funding the Third Phase to enable us reduce illiteracy to single digits and also to empower women.”

Talking on some achievements, he said it was gratifying to note that the NFED has provided functional literacy in 15 major local languages in Ghana in addition to English . “Through the development activities of literacy classes, several communities have benefited from the resourcefulness of adult literacy learners. Learners have been able to provide hand dug wells, constructed schools, nurseries, markets and planted trees in their communities in order to facilitate development in their areas of abode. It is reassuring that learners have not kept the skills they have acquired to themselves but used them to the benefit of their communities. Through Functional Literacy, women participants have contributed to family incomes.”

The Minister commended the management and Staff of the NFED, other providers of literacy in Ghana as well us collaborators of the NFLP for their immense contribution to the reduction of illiteracy in our dear country. “I want to extend special felicitations to the numerous volunteer facilitators, chiefs and other opinion leaders and district, municipal and metropolitan assemblies in the country for the contribution they have made towards improving the living conditions of their non-literate brothers and sisters”.

Functional literacy is indispensable in modern society. There is virtually nothing that could be done by an individual without utilizing reading, writing and numeracy skills.

To be literate is to be intellectually empowered. Intellectual empowerment leads to freedom and people who possess individual freedom have been able to discover their own identities and worked towards achieving them.

Functional literacy is the catalyst for realizing dreams, achieving goals and attaining objectives. Without Literacy, the world around us will be static, without promise and hope. There will be no cracking power to spark the engine of individual growth and development. There will be no key to open the door to development and achievement. The whole world will be locked up in a prison of underdevelopment and backwardness.

Countries with high illiteracy rate are at the cross roads of development and have become helpless and powerless to push the agenda of development forward.

BY: Michael Amedor

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