JIS: Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, says literacy is more than reading and writing, noting that it is a tool for social and economic empowerment.
“When citizens are literate, it places the country in a better position to address complex issues,” Senator Reid said, adding that it enables individuals to respond in creative ways to challenges, and the building of their communities.
The Minister’s remarks were delivered by Acting Senior Education Officer, Andrew Francis, at an International Literacy Day celebration at the Pembroke Hall Primary School, St. Andrew on Friday (September 7).
Senator Reid said the Government continues to recognise the value of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) observance, and places great emphasis on literacy, as “we are fully aware of its impact on the lives of our children.”
He noted that empirical evidence shows a positive correlation between strong literacy skills and the overall health and standard of living of citizens.
The Minister said that over the years the Jamaican society has evolved into one that depends “heavily on highly-skilled citizens, to fill critical positions, and to enable economic advancements.”
Regional Director at the Ministry and guest speaker at the event, Dr. Kasan Troupe, said the day’s activities highlight the importance of a literate society in advancing the education agenda.
“We want you to be creative, to learn, to be collaborative and to communicate,” she told the students.
She said that the Ministry continues to implement measures to improve student outcome, and encouraged them to take advantage of the educational opportunities being provided.
“You have the capacity to excel and be the best,” Dr. Troupe said.
International Literacy Day, observed annually on September 8, provides an opportunity for governments, civil society and stakeholders to highlight improvements in world literacy rates, and reflect on the world’s literacy challenges.