World Vision, in collaboration with Worldreader, Accra World Book Capital and the Complementary Education Agency (CEA),has organised an event to commemorate International Literacy Day.
The event, which took place in Accra, was themed ‘Promoting literacy for a world in transition: Building the foundation for sustainable and peaceful societies’.
International Literacy Day was established by UNESCO on October 26, 1966 during the 14th session of the organisation’sGeneral Conference. It is observed globally on September 8 each year, and in 1967 was commemorated for the first time. Its purpose is to emphasise the value of literacy to individuals, communities and societies.
At the event, Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay,said six out of ten children attending school at the age of ten cannot read and understand a simple text.
“The current situation is still rife with injustice and inequality. At the halfway point in the 2030 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–thirds of them women,” she noted.
Again, Ms. Azoulay acknowledged the significant progress made in the space of 40 years since the UNESCO support for literacy began: “3.6 billion people have learned to read and write, raising the global literacy rate from 68 percent in 1979 to 86 percent in 2020”.
Professor Samuel Awinkene Atintono, Principal-Accra College of Education, who chaired the event noted that though previous reports showed a reduction in out-of–school children, there is still a significant number of out-of–school children in Ghana.
“Out-of-school children (OOSC) aged between 6-14 suggest that there is a reduction in the number of OOSC by 2016, based on a joint report by the Ministry of Education (MoE) and the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) which is built on earlier studies by UNICEF and UNESCO (2010, 2012); but there is still a significant number of out-of-school children in Ghana, and particularly in the poorest and marginalised communities,” he said.
He therefore urged government to intensify efforts aimed at improving the country’s literacy rate.
“I call for conscious efforts from government agencies such as the Complementary Education Agency (CEA), development partners, publishers, writers, NGOs involved in literacy programmes –such as World Vision, World Education, Pencils of Promise, etc. – to work together on improving literacy and driving learning outcomes to provide a transformative change.
“Government has provided the legal framework by passing the CEA Act in 2020 (Act 1055), which transitions the former Non Formal Education Division (NFED) into the CEA,” Prof. Atintono added.
The event was graced by government agencies such the Complementary Education Agency, World Vision, UNESCO, Pencils of Promise, teachers, some students from the Accra College of Education and traditional leaders.