On September 8 and 9, Guyana joins the international community in celebrating World Literacy Day which is a celebration of those who have triumphed in learning to read and write; a celebration of those who teach literacy and a call for all to become literate in their language.
In countries like Guyana, the timing is perfect since the new school year is still fresh. This is a special call for everyone to basically understand the importance of a solid education and literacy is the foundation of acquiring and sharing knowledge. Sure there are many people who are very intelligent but do not possess the skills to read and write. But with literacy comes books, a guide to humanity, a web of knowledge passed on for generations, an extension of our minds.
One cannot separate the two, the skills of literacy and the art of literature. And so I call citizens of this land to implement an ‘each one, teach one’ project in your communities or at least in your household. Share a book, sit and read with someone, teach someone how to read or/and write and most importantly promote the advantages of literacy.
There are no limits to our minds and intelligence and so there are no limits to learning, but patience, my friends, is the key. If we all can find the patience and time to sit with someone, anyone to share our knowledge then this nation can finally move on from where it stands today.
This may sound clichéd but it is true and its meaning grows stronger everyday: ‘Knowledge is Power’.
If you can read this then congrats! You have beaten illiteracy, at least half of it; there is still the writing aspect. But there are still many adults out there, who are not literate and are ashamed to admit it because they fear they will be judged or attract negativity. We need to stop stereotyping people who cannot read or write as dunce. This is so not true! They may not have had the opportunity to take hold of the lesson but their minds are just as inquisitive and they can be very witty. But as I said before it is important to share this knowledge.
In his World Literacy Day message to the nation, President Donald Ramotar said that reading with understanding is the basis of learning effectively in all other areas. He is very right! Literature and language develop the mind’s ability to reason and solve problems.
There are so many books to read, and many topics to discuss. May I make a recommendation? We are celebrating Amerindian Heritage Month as part of our nation’s unique ethnic diversity and respect to our ancestors and first people; Do you know why we celebrate this month in the first place? Who we pay homage to on September 10? What are the different tribes of aboriginals? Read up on it!
And if you want a bigger challenge in literacy why not learn sign languages and Braille? Or why not learn a foreign language? These will be more than assist in
developing a country like Guyana that needs to put more emphasis on these skills.
Give a man a fish, feed him for a day… teach a man to fish and feed him for life. Today I say: Read a book to a friend and entertain him for a day, teach someone to read and educate him/her for life!