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Sep 9, 2014

Belize Celebrates International Literacy Day

Monday was International Literacy Day, celebrated in schools throughout Belize. The focus is on reading, comprehension and writing, and to that end the Ministry of Education collaborated with the media and other organizations to promote the love of reading. Schools engaged in different activities, with parents getting involved and students getting tagged to read the news and present the weather report. It’s an annual thing, but the message is just as pertinent today as it always is. Lurleen Betson-Gamboa explains why literacy should be a community, and not a school initiative.


Lurleen Betson-Gamboa, Ministry of Education

Lurleen Betson-Gamboa

“One of the things that we encourage our school and our community to do is to become involved in literacy. And when we talk about literacy, we want to move away from just the main basic reading and writing. We want to look at more comprehension and writing. According to the 2000 census, the literacy rate so far is seventy-six point nine percent, but we need to keep in mind that when we look at the literacy rate, we’re not only focusing on schools, and until we move away to realize that it’s not only a school initiative and it is a community-based initiative, we won’t get anywhere…hence the reason why we’re asking parents to be involved, media personnel to be involved, community to be involved. It’s a country-wide initiative rather than just a school initiative. When it comes to encouraging a love of reading, we want people to understand that reading isn’t only within the schools…to do activities and strategies such as basic things…you walk on the street you have to notice different signs, and those are the simple things that parents can do. You label things within your house…you label simple books, doors, whatever it may be within the house and like I said before, we need to realize that when it comes to literacy and improving the literacy rate within Belize, it’s going to take the entire community to do it and not just the schools.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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