Parents were reminded of the role they play in educating their children and the nation during a national Education Day event held by the Ministry of Education in collaboration with the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
The occasion, which targeted schools, communities and stakeholders, was held last week Friday at the South Ruimveldt Park Primary School as part of education month activities, where literacy in a digital world was highlighted.
International Literacy Day was observed on Friday, with the overall aim to look at what kind of literacy skills people need to navigate increasingly digitally-mediated societies and to explore effective literacy policies and programmes that can leverage the opportunities that the digital world provides.
Aimed at making literacy everybody’s business, the activity was held to promote the stamping out of illiteracy. Stakeholders were encouraged to work together to find ways to make the nation literate.
In delivering the feature address, Minister of Education Nicolette Henry said, “From the presentations delivered you can gather knowledge to help your child/ children to close the literacy gap.”
She quoted the Nigerian proverb that ‘it takes an entire village to raise a child’.
“Today (Friday) we have come together in observance of UNESCO’s International Literacy Day 2017 under the worldwide theme “Literacy in a Digital world. The whole purpose of this activity is to look at what kind of literacy skills people need …to navigate increasingly digitally-mediated societies and to explore effective literacy policies and programs that can leverage the opportunities that the digital world provides,” Minister Henry stated.
“I trust now that you have all this knowledge that you can use it to help and support your child or children through their academic studies so they can achieve their full potential as citizens of Guyana.”
Minister Henry commended the 60 plus parents who were in attendance and pointed out that it shows how serious and passionate they are about their children’s education and future.
According to the Minster, the ministry’s priorities are to ensure that all schools are working at the same standard to reduce the disparity in the delivery of education.
“Together … you and your child can climb over all obstacles to reach the summit of success.
“At record speed, digital technologies are fundamentally changing the way people live, work, learn and socialise everywhere. They are giving new possibilities to people to improve all areas of their lives, including access to information; knowledge management; networking; social services; industrial production, and mode of work.”
Minister Henry added, “However, those who lack access to digital technologies and the knowledge, skills and competence required to navigate them, can end up marginalised in increasingly digitally-driven societies. Literacy is one such essential skill.”
The Minister advised that it is only through education that Guyana can climb out of poverty
“Our children will take us to places we didn’t even know existed because they haven’t created it yet! I am eagerly awaiting the future, your future, Guyana’s future.”
Also speaking at the event was Secretary General of the Guyana National Commission for UNESCO, Ms. Patricia LaFleur, who reminded that the commission’s aim is to contribute to promoting peace and security through education, even as it works to realise the vision of a literate world.
LaFleur stated that literacy is a basic right of all humans.
“I encourage us to work to ensure that Guyana is on track to achieving literacy in a digital world. I pledge the national Commission of UNESCO support for the promotion of Literacy in a Digital World in Guyana,” LaFleur said.
Meanwhile, Chief Education Officer (CEO) Marcell Hutson said that the Ministry of Education is working to ensure that more learners acquire the necessary literacy skills, to bridge the gap and to offer equal educational opportunities to persons from the coast to the hinterland.
Hutson disclosed that the Ministry of Education has already begun distributing literacy tool kits nationwide to improve literacy in a digital world.
“We recognise that our school system must be given the necessary training and opportunities and as such the ministry is set to launch a smart room to connect teachers and pupils via software that offers content and concepts to help young citizens.”
Specifically addressing parents he said, ” Your role is critical to the development of and is very essential to your children’s learning… we want to salute your efforts, but want to form a collaboration to ensure our mission of educating the nation is achieved.”
Parent Teacher Association (PTA) Coordinator, Ministry of Education, Ms Nadia Hollingsworth told parents, “You are the first teachers of your children… I implore you to employ techniques to help your children to be rounded individuals. If a child is to succeed we must, as parents, be involved from the time the child is born to that time that he/she finishes formal learning, if we wish to succeed.”
“We (parents) are our children’s learning models. Move beyond the fanfare of getting ready for the first few days of school and be careful of what you say about the School environment to your children. Give important education tips. Understand how the School system works.”