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Community centres to enhance literacy learning

BY: Patrick Twumasi
Community development programme with adult learners
Community development programme with adult learners

International Literacy Day (ILD) was initiated by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to consistently remind and relentlessly drum home the relevance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human right.

Hence, through the celebration, the challenges of illiteracy are localised at where literacy begins.

Again, it is a reminder to the international community of the importance of literacy and the need to intensify efforts to expand literate societies.

Therefore, the responsibility to eliminate illiteracy is given a threshold and draws attention to societies.

Literacy is a human right that deserves attention in the developmental mix of a nation.

Varied factors culminate in the development of nations. The foremost is the development of the citizen, and literacy is the means to promote individual well-being.

The cascading effect is the contribution of the individual to national development.

In addition, literacy is a great gift and a medium for life transformation, which we often take for granted.

It remains one of the transformative tools which empower humanity to take advantage of opportunities and prevent people from walking with a lowered brim. Where literacy is not prioritised, people, communities and nations lag behind in development.

On the contrary, where education is perceived as a common denominator of change and prioritised, the multiplying effect on the individual is immeasurable and on the community and nation, incalculable.

Theme

This year, we celebrate the day with the country-specific theme: “Transforming literacy learning spaces for quality, equitable and inclusive education for all.”

The theme for this year’s celebration calls for the transformation and diversification of learning spaces.

The outbreak of COVID-19 led to the sudden transitioning of teaching and learning from the known traditional classroom learning to digital. Schools were shut and replaced swiftly with a switch to digital platforms.

Countries which lacked the infrastructure struggled with literacy while we were all faced with the reality of losing decades of knowledge gained.

It calls for resilience, resoluteness and robust and time-tested strategies to withstand future eventualities. It is delightful to know that the Ministry of Education turned to digital learning to save education in Ghana.

However, the raft of measures served the formal education sector while the non-formal struggled in the face of the limited spaces.

The sudden switch and shift to digital learning to save decades of knowledge gained, which came under threat of COVID-19, presented the opportunity for innovation and a risk of further widening the disparities among the youth and adults worldwide.

Approach

Fortunately, the Complementary Education Agency had started the family literacy programme. The strategic approach was to get around and open up opportunities and the learning spaces that the COVID-19 outbreak came to limit.

The strategy helped continue with the facilitation of literacy programmes. Yes, we had a plan in place which worked and is working.

It raises the relevance and sharply brings to the fore the need and urgency required to build the community learning centres in all 16 regions. In this regard, the agency looks forward to the government and our development partners helping construct these centres to open up the literacy learning spaces.

Despite the above, the community learning facility will house a state-of-the-art multipurpose infrastructure for Information and Communications Technology (ICT). Additionally, the facility will aid literacy through social media. We need to bend our backs to construct these edifices, which will bring limitless space to teaching and learning.

Adult learning

Additionally, CONFINTEA VII Framework for Action emphasises the importance of adult learning and education in active citizenship, political participation, social cohesion and gender equality and the importance of overall socio-economic benefits to the individuals, communities and nations.

However, our classes are in mosques and churches while our learners sit and write on benches. It is not good enough. We need to crowd in every effort to correct it. The correction will come about through the building of the community learning centres.

In addition, for the transformative impact of literacy to be realised, we need to address the issue of disproportionate access to ICT since the rapidly changing world requires diverse literacy learning spaces that permit learning in the workplace, community, family, library and digital levels which recognise the informal and non-formal spaces.

It will create flexibility, proximity and ease of access to literacy learning spaces. This will require allowing outcomes of literacy learning from informal and non-formal spaces to be recognised, validated and accredited from data-driven monitoring and evaluation processes.

Nonetheless, we need to deal with issues of inclusiveness and equality, which have further been widened by the digital transformation of the literacy learning spaces.

It will ultimately lead to a change among the youth and adults stuck in poverty and gender identities.


The writer is Head, Public Relations, Complementary Education Agency (Ministry of Education). E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.