The year 2011 marks the 19th time that the Central Jamaica Reading Association has engaged educational institutions and communities in observing International Literacy Day.
The association distributed copies of a message from Ms. Irina Bokovo, Director General of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and informative comments from the International Reading Association to educational institutions in the parishes of Clarendon, Manchester, and St. Elizabeth. Educators were encouraged to utilize the message and comments to refl ect the theme “Literacy for Peace.”Additionally, members of community organizations were involved in reading to children.
Many schools emphasized the importance of the day and the theme: “Literacy for Peace” during morning assemblies. Later, teachers engaged students in creative activities reflecting the theme. deCarteret College, Mandeville
One highlight of the day’s activities began with the visit to deCarteret College by Mr. Calvin Lyn, Acting Custos Rotulorum of Manchester, and Dr. V. Elaine Carter, President of the Central Jamaica Reading Association and International Consultant in Education. Here, Acting Principal Ms. Angela Walker extended welcome. Dr. Carter spoke of the signifi cance of the day, highlighting the theme “Literacy for Peace,” and encouraged teachers to engage students in creative activities reflecting the theme. She read the poem entitled “All We Want is Peace,” by Gordon David, highlighting the relationship between literacy and peace.
Mr. Lyn read the message, which included the following salient points:
• International Literacy Day places a focus on literacy and peace.
• Peace is founded on human rights and social justice.
• Literacy is a pre-requisite for peace. It cuts social boundaries.
• Illiteracy is an infringement on human rights and promotes poverty, which can lead to criminality.
Some benefits of literacy are:
• It enables people to develop their cultural identity and diversity.
• It promotes respect and tolerance.
• It gives people the skills needed to seek meaningful employment.
• It enables countries and governments to achieve sustainable development.
Mr. Lyn encouraged the students to be peaceful, compassionate, understanding, and they should try to settle conflicts in a non-violet manner. Using the acronym R.O.A.D., he elaborated on:
• R - respect for teachers, themselves and others
• O - obedience to teachers, parents, and the rules of the institution
• A - ambition: students should strive to achieve their ambition while in school
• D - discipline: students should be disciplined in their study habits and display good behavior at all times Hatfield Primary and Junior High School, Hatfield, Manchester
Ms. Elsa Smith, Assistant Superintendent of Police, Manchester Division, Mandeville, addressed the students of Hatfi eld Primary and Junior High School on the theme “Literacy for Peace.” Assistant Superintendent Smith expressed her appreciation to join with the Central Jamaica Reading Association in observing International Literacy Day. Referring to the Mission of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (the Police), she indicated that the preservation of peace is a major responsibility. However, the Police cannot do it alone. International Literacy Day provides the opportunity to help in promoting literacy as a means of being proactive in helping to preserve the peace in schools and the wider community.
Assistant Superintendent Smith expressed the thought that, “If we are able to get more of our students to become literate, that is, being able to read for knowledge, write well and think critically, then we are definitely on our way to achieve a more peaceful society.”
She continued, “Through literacy, you will be able to achieve your goals and potential and participate fully in your community and wider society. When you are literate, you are able to handle information effectively, express ideas, make decisions, and solve problems as family members, workers, citizens, and lifelong learners.”
Smith informed the students and teachers that in keeping with the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child, students have the right to:
• Free primary education
• An education in the spirit of understanding, peace, tolerance, and equality
• Protection against unlawful arrest Kendal All Age School, Kendal, Manchester
The Reading Room at Kendal All Age School was an ideal environment to foster literacy. Dr. Carter gave parents and teachers an overview of the rationale for International Literacy Day, emphasizing the “Literacy for Peace” theme. Earlier, teachers and students discussed the relevance of the day to education.
In extending congratulations to the teachers of Kendal for establishing the Reading Club, Dr. Carter reminded parents that reading forms the basis for all other areas of learning and asked parents to support the club. Parents were also reminded that they were the fi rst teachers for their children, and involvement in their children’s education would help them to increase their knowledge base and help to attain success for their children. Mandeville Regional Hospital
At the Mandeville Regional Hospital, Mr. Calvin Lyn and Dr. Elaine Carter read to children in the hospital wards. Retired teachers and members of community organizations offered guidance to young mothers in the Pediatric Ward of the hospital on their roles of reading to their infant children.
International Literacy Day
Global Operations at the International Reading Association