The Complementary Education Agency (CEA), in partnership with UNESCO and Engage Now Africa, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), have jointly observed the 56th International Literacy Day at Kadjebi in the Oti Region.
The event, which was held under the theme: “Promoting Literacy for Sustainable and Peaceful Societies in a Changing World,” saw CEA Regional Directors and some District Directors from the 16 Regions of Ghana and a host of adult learners attending.
Mr. Emmanuel Ntim, an Acting Executive Director, CEA, speaking at the programme, says bringing the Ghanaian non literate communities and by extension our country out of illiteracy is the prime occupation of the CEA.
He said there was the need for collaboration with CEA to transform the face of literacy and change the story of illiterate in Ghana.
Mr. Ntim said it was prudent to say, “literacy is right to non literate and compass to life, literacy is a mental factor, hence, for the individual to become critical thinkers and contribute to the quality of public discourse, the realisation of literacy is paramount.”
The Acting Executive Director said literacy remained a social insurance against poverty and for an assured future; the promotion of literacy could not be underestimated.
He said illiteracy was not a natural catastrophe such as flood or earthquake that could be measured because it is a secret phenomenon that has damaged societies.
Mr. Ntim said illiteracy was a silent destroyer of societies, individuals and races and should attract the desired attention as a natural disaster and that silence on illiteracy is treasonable.
He said they are currently implementing 5,000 CEA classes in Savanna, Bono East and Upper East Regions and hoped to increase to 20, 000 in 2024.The Acting Executive Director called on everyone to help change the face of illiteracy in Ghana.
Mrs Mamle Andrews, the Chief Director, Ministry of Education (MoE) said education was a key to unlocking the human potential and empowering individuals to actively participate in society.
She said literacy empowered individuals to expressed themselves very well, enable them to engage in critical thinking and enable one to navigate the complicities of the world that we live in and to understands different perspectives and contribute meaningfully to society.
Mrs Andrews, who represented the Minister of Education, Dr Yaw Adu Twum, said the theme recognises the challenges and opportunities we face in Ghana and across the globe and that Ghana recognised the importance of literacy and has made significant efforts to promote literacy for all its citizens.
The Chief Director said the MoE was committed to quality education that ensured that every child regardless of background had access to solid foundation, quality, and affordable education.
She said though achieving universal literacy remained a challenge globally, especially in remote and marginalised communities, they are investing in infrastructure, improving Teacher training, expanding the availability of educational resources, among others to overcome the challenges.
Ms. Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO said, “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”
She said literacy was much more than merely learning letters and words as it transformed the drop of ink on paper into windows on the world and that it is the key that opens the door to knowledge, emancipation, and imagination.
Ms. Azoulay said in the space of 40 years, significant progress has been made as 3.6 billion people have learned to read and write, raising the global literacy rate from 68 per cent in 1979 to 86 per cent in 2020.
“However, the current situation is still rife with injustice and inequality. At the halfway point in the 20230 Agenda for Sustainable Development, 244 million school-age children are still not in school, 98 million of them in sub-Saharan Africa.
At the same time, 773 million adults still cannot read or write-two third of them women”, she said. The UNESCO Director-General said, “over and above illiteracy, learning gaps still too often lead to incomplete literacy: six out of ten children attending school at the age of ten cannot read and understand a simple text.”
She said that was why UNESCO supported literacy efforts in countries all over the world and that they paid particular attention to crisis situations, where the fundamental rights to learn to read and write were under threat.
Ms. Cecilia Amankwa, Country Director, Engage Now Africa, said the organisation operated in 271 communities in 14 regions out of the 16 in the country and that since programme inception, they have enrolled 13,211 and graduated 7,647 learners.
Ms. Amankwa said their zeal was in the belief that no one should be left behind and that they would do everything possible to carry along beneficiaries of the programme.