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Traditional Warriors leading a parade to celebrate the World Literacy Day in Gizo

Western Provincial Minister for Education Nixon Buka has commended the Provincial Literacy Trainer (PLT) program supported by the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MEHRD).ย ย 

The minister said although challenges remain, one of its successes is it improves literacy at provincial level and assists children to be able to read fluently at an early age.

Delivering his keynote address in yesterdayโ€™s World Literacy Day celebrations in the Western Provincial capital of Gizo, Mr Buka said the program prepares children for self-reliance, inclusivity and development holistically.

โ€œThe PLT program has covered 106 primary schools from Marovo to Shortland Islands. It aims to improve teachersโ€™ strategy of teaching, reading, writing, speaking and listening.ย 

โ€œThis program aims to improve teachersโ€™ competency to teach literacy at school level for primary so that our children can be able to read fluently and write at the fullest level of competency,โ€ Mr Buka says.ย ย ย 

He adds, the program also assesses childrenโ€™s level of competency and ability. Minister Buka said Noro and Gizo Primary schools have performed exceptionally well from the program.ย ย 

โ€œDespite the successes, there are still challenges faced in this program. Lack of early childhood foundation, therefore children are finding it difficult to learn quickly and skip classes.ย 

โ€œLack of community support towards ECE due to financial issues and lack of parental support to students learning due to financial difficulties,โ€ he says.ย 

The Minister also commended the use of existing digital technology to enhance literacy at all levels at home and in school.

โ€œI would like to acknowledge the use of technology to help address the issue of learning continuity during the COVID-19 pandemic since 2020.

โ€œMEHRD introduces the use of technology and digital platforms to ensure learning continues at home, aired through SIBC, TV and other digital platforms,โ€ he says.

Buka states this recognizes the use of existing digital technology to enhance literacy at all levels at home and in school.

World Literacy Day is celebrated annually on September 8, to raise awareness and concern for literacy problems that exist within local communities, as well as globally.

The theme for this year is, โ€œLiteracy for a Human-Centered Recovery: Narrowing the Digital Divide.โ€

The Local theme that was celebrated at Gizo yesterday was, โ€œLiteracy for Life at Home and in School.โ€

The minister highlighted that although much progress has been made to improve literacy rate in more than 50 years since the first literacy day, illiteracy is still a big problem.

โ€œMore than 750 million people around the world are still illiterate.โ€

However, he said literacy is a life-long learning.

The minister called on communities to support Early Childhood Education (ECE) Centers. He adds, parents must enroll their children in ECE centers at the right age.

He furthers, Teachers in Training (TIT) needs to be trained and qualified. โ€œI Call on all stakeholders to work together and to maintain and improve literacy level at the community and provincial level.

โ€œIt is envisioned that all children must become good readers, critical thinkers and good decision makers in their communities,โ€ he says.

SIBC understands that the program was piloted in 2015. Support and activity was designed and implemented by the local Education Authority (provincial, church and independent), with the support (expertise, finding, strategy) from the central MEHRD office through the new Literacy Programme Management Unit (LPMU)

by Jared Koli

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