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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Celebrating International Literacy Day, 8 September 2012

International Literacy Day - 1 in 5: that's 776 million adults worldwide that can't write their own name or read a line from a book. A basic right to education that richer countries like ours don't have to worry about, compared to much poorer places in the Third World.

The theme of International Literacy Day 2012 is Literacy and Peace. According to UNICEF, literacy contributes to peace as it brings people closer to attaining individual freedoms and better understanding the world, as well as preventing or resolving conflict. The connection between literacy and peace can be seen by the fact that in unstable democracies or in conflict-affected countries it is harder to establish or sustain a literate environment.

The day was founded in 1946 and every year on 8 September UNESCO asks governments, employers, trades unions and other important international organisations to get involved and remember the importance of being able to read and write. 

Literacy opens up a window of opportunities to every one of us, and is essential to development.In Rwanda alone, literacy level stands at 69.7 per cent, up from 65.3 per cent in 2006, according to Esperance Muziganyi, who is in charge of Adult Education in the Ministry of Education. But literacy among young Rwandans (15 to 24 age group) is slightly higher at 83.7 per cent.

In order to curb illiteracy in Rwanda, over 5,000 literacy centres were set up across the country last year, but the target is to open 8,600 centres with at least four in each cell.Every year on 8 September the UNESCO International Literacy Prizes are awarded. The prize is worth $20,000. In 2011 four literacy projects in Burundi, Mexico, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the United States of America won the UNESCO International Literacy Prizes.

Source: The New Times, and UNESCO

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