GINA, GUYANA, Thursday, September 8, 2016
September 8, is International Literacy Day, a day for promoting literacy as a way to empower people and help them improve their lives. In observance, the Ministry of Education today, staged a Literacy Extravaganza at its 21 Brickdam, Stabroek, location.
The event presented the Ministry officials, teachers, students and other stakeholders the opportunity to promote literacy, by reading out loud chapters and excerpts of their favourite or inspirational literature, writing and or books.
The over two-hour long session saw participation from the Minister of Education, Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine, who read the prologue to Guyana’s David Dabydeen’s novel, ‘Johnson Dictionary,’ which journeys through 18th century London and Demerara in British Guiana, recounting experiences that might be dreamed or remembered.
Minister within the Ministry of Education, Nicolette Henry read from Felix Cortes’, ‘Living for Triumph: Climbing the Summit of Success’.
Minister Henry read two pages from Chapter 3 (Living with objectives,) of Cortes’ novel, which focused on the story of the struggle and triumphs of American educator Helen Keller, who overcame the adversity of being blind and deaf to become one of the 20th century’s leading humanitarian, as well as the co-founder of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Others readers at the event included Advisor to the Ministry of Education and Director of Culture, Vincent Alexander, Chief Education Officer (acting,) Marcel Hutson, Guyana Teachers’ Union Representative Jacklyn Douglas, Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE)Representative Collin Marks, Parent Teachers Association (PTA) Representative Robert Forrester, Principal Education Officer, Ministry of Education, Immanuel Bridgewater, and Community Liaison Officer Randolph Critchlow.
There were representatives from the Hindu, Muslim and Christian faiths; Amber Piaralall, Wazir Baksh, and Carwyn Holland Jnr., respectively, as well as writers; Petamber Persaud, Hazel Moses-Walrond and Mosafa Telford, and students, including pupils from the nursery, primary and secondary levels.
The event also featured a literacy tent, which showcased tips on how to raise the literacy levels of children. Free reading books were also distributed under this tent.
Fifty years ago, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) officially proclaimed September 8,
International Literacy Day to actively mobilise the international community, and to promote literacy as an instrument to empower individuals, communities and societies.
Now International Literacy Day is celebrated worldwide, bringing together governments, multi- and bilateral organisations, Non-Governmental Organisation (NGOs), private sector, communities, teachers, learners and experts in the field.
This year, UNESCO celebrated the day with the theme “Reading the Past, Writing the Future,” honouring 50 years of the observance of International Literacy Day and continuing its work to raise literacy rates around the world.
UNESCO in its International Literacy Day message noted that this is the first year of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which has for one of its goals “ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all.” One way this can be achieved, states the agenda, is attaining literacy and numeracy among all youth and a “substantial proportion of adults, both men and women.”