Commissioner of Education Sarah Wescot-Williams, on the occasion of International Literacy Day, which was observed on September 8, is calling on parents to help their children with reading and writing assignments, in order for them to be able to take charge of their own destinies through learning.
International Literacy Day is a day used by the United Nations and the international community to remind us that there are still some 771 million people in the world who cannot read or write, of which the majority is to be found in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and the Pacific.
Even though there has been much progress in more people around the world being able to read and write, currently one in five adults are illiterate with two-thirds of them being women, and 75 million children are out of school.
This year’s theme was, "Literacy is the best remedy." A special focus was placed on the important relationship between literacy and health for healthy societies, with a strong emphasis on the HIV/AIDS pandemic and major diseases like tuberculosis and malaria. These are some of the world’s most important public health concerns.
"Literacy is not only a positive outcome of development processes but also a lever of change and an instrument for achieving further social progress in communities. Parents besides teachers and school administrators are also community agents, agents of social change and development.
"Take the time out of your busy daily schedules to help your children with reading and writing skills. This year’s spotlight on literacy is the connection between literacy and health. An illiterate person is simply more vulnerable to ill-health, and less likely to seek medical help for themselves and their family.
"I appeal to parents, let us work together to develop a rich literate environment on our island where persons of all ages are encouraged to use their newly acquired skills in reading and writing.
"I also would like to recognize the volunteers who assist schools and students with reading, the so called reading parents in the schools and foundations with the goal of promoting reading amongst our youth," Commissioner of Education Sarah Wescot-Williams told the Government Information Service (GIS).