Written by Muna

In 1965, UNESCO has proclaimed that September 8th will be marked as International Literacy Day. Today is a day to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies. A day to remind everybody that reading and writing is one of the basic skills every person should and has the right to have. For over 55 years UNESCO has worked to ensure that literacy remains a priority on national and international agendas.

This year’s theme is Literacy and Sustainable Societies. Projects and events are being held all around the world in dedication of this day. In New Zealand babies born on September 8th, get a free book so new parents can read to them straight away.

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Literacy is a fundamental human right and everybody should be able to have access to it. Many countries have worked on improving their education system and made many efforts to reduce national illiteracy rates. For example, since 1951 the overall literacy rate in India has increased from a mere 18.33% to 74.04%. On an average, literacy rates have went up by at least 9-10% every decade.

On education, children from Finland are more ahead than other countries. Teaching is a well-paid and respected profession and at start of 2016, Finnish children will start learning computer coding. Finland is known for their innovative ways of education. They don’t dub foreign shows, but rather use subtitles to encourage viewers into reading and learning a new language. The Scandinavian country also has a strong library culture. 80% of Finns visit the library regularly. On an average, each person borrows 10 books, DVD’s or magazines in a year. And the UK isn’t that far behind!

Finland ranks very high amongst developed countries in education and literacy. Link Ethiopia have been working hard to decrease the illiteracy rate in Ethiopia with our project work in schools. Not that long ago, Link Ethiopia started our Libraries and Literacy project. Just like Finland, our goal is to promote a culture of reading and combat low literacy levels in schools at the same time. The project’s objectives are:

  • To improve children’s reading attainment in the early grades.
  • To increase access to books and libraries for younger children.
  • To encourage reading for pleasure.
  • To improve early grade teachers’ confidence in teaching reading and English.
  • To improve the quality of teaching through adoption of pedagogies of systematic phonics and reading comprehension techniques.
  • To improve outcomes for those identified as weaker readers in secondary school.

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We’ve seen success in the Libraries and Literacy. Since 2013, we have been able to expand the project over 46 schools and bringing the joy of reading to many children. Our missions continues as we try to including more schools in to the Libraries and Literacy project – join us.