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Sep 7, 2018

Belize Celebrates International Literacy Day

Belize joined the rest of the world today in celebrating International Literacy Day. The event was marked with a fair at the ITVET Compound in Belize City. The Ministry of Education, which organized the event, says it wants to ensure that young people become literate in all its forms. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Across the world, September eight is celebrated annually as International Literacy Day.  It is an occasion for governments, as well as civil society and other stakeholders to show up improvements in world literacy rates and reflect on its remaining literacy challenges.  The ability to read and write at a competent level is a key component of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by world leaders in September 2015.  In Belize, International Literacy Day is being commemorated today with a series of activities put together by the Ministry of Education.

 

Carol Babb

Dr. Carol Babb, Chief Education Officer

“Across the country, every district is celebrating International Literacy Day under the theme “Literacy and Skills Development”.  That theme speaks to the importance of reading and writing so that our children can develop skills necessary for employment and social participation.”

 

As part of its agenda, the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals promote universal access to quality education and learning opportunities.  Among its targets is to ensure that all young people achieve literacy and numeracy and that adults who lack these skills are given the opportunity to acquire them.

 

Dr. Carol Babb

“It does reflect financial literacy.  When we look at literacy, we look at financial literacy, digital literacy, the whole spectrum of literacy because, as you know, our students may be able to read and write well, but if they don’t have financial literacy skills they will not be able to manage their resources and they will not be productive because what we have found out is that many people are not poor, it’s just that they lack financial literacy skills.  They lack skills to manage and budget their finances.”

 

Today focuses on skills and competencies that are necessary for employment, careers, and livelihoods, chiefly technical and vocational skills, along with transferable and digital skills.

 

Dr. Carol Babb

“We are focusing on pre-primary and primary because the goal is to have all children reading at Standard One, and research has shown that if the children are not reading at Standard One, it will affect their entire lives.  They will not be able to get good jobs, they will not be able to participate fully in the society. The Ministry of Education is very serious about literacy.  We have launched literacy as a national priority and so to ensure that our students are reading well at Standard One, we have developed a literacy screening test where every child in all our schools will take that test to determine their reading and writing level.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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