New Era (Windhoek)

Namibia: Caprivi Celebrates Adult Literacy Week

Katima Mulilo — Caprivi regional adult learners' week celebrations took place at Katima Mulilo last week on Wednesday with hundreds of people gathered, ranging from adult education promoters, adult learners, education regional officials and other stakeholders.

After welcoming invited guests, the acting Regional Education Director, Robert Mabuku, delivered a message from the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, who stressed the relationship between education and peace.

"Lasting peace is founded on respect and social justice which are human rights. Literacy, the foundation of education and lifelong learning, is one of these rights," said Bokova

According to Bokova, in today's knowledge-driven society, lack of literacy is synonymous with marginalisation.

During the speech, a shocking revelation was made, that about 793 million people worldwide lack literacy, particularly women and girls.

Bokova warned of the consequences. "This situation is running the risk of creating a generation of illiterates and a fundamental impediment to freedom and people's rights".

Bokova called on government, the private sector and civil society to work closely towards the realisation of an educated society.

"The world needs political commitment to literacy, I therefore urge governments, civil society and the private sector to make literacy a priority so that each individual can develop their potential."

At the same event, Acting Governor of Caprivi Region, Bernard Sibalatani, appealed for hard work and inclusion. "This day should be celebrated in each constituency to promote adult learning. Learning is an endless, lifelong journey and one of the government efforts to address the imbalances of the past colonial regime which denied our adults education," he said.

A total of 2 133 learners were enrolled in the lifelong learning programme in Caprivi Region this year alone with 140 promoters (Adult learners' teachers).

According to Sibalatani, community and learning development centres have been completed at Ngoma and Kongola and the second phase of construction would begin soon.

Sibalatani was full of praise for the Ministry of Education and adult learners alike.

"Literacy continues to be visible in our villages. I want to congratulate the Ministry of Education in celebrating adult learning and the achievements of people who take courage in learning," he said.

The celebration was marked with entertainment from traditional dances, dramas and the popular local band, Spinny and the Green kids.

Learners' progress was also put to the test as learners whose literacy was non-existent a few years ago proved their mighty by demonstrating their reading skills in both Silozi and English. Just last week, adult learners week, an event celebrating adult learners' successes for a period of one week from 1st to 8th September, was launched in Katima Mulilo by the regional deputy director of education, Austin Samupwa.

UNESCO is a stakeholder in education on international literacy each year.

UNESCO reminds the international community of the status of literacy and adult learning globally. The theme for this year's celebration was 'Adult learning for peace and prosperity'.

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