JIS News

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  • Jamaica is happy to join the rest of the world in celebrating International Literacy Day today, Thursday, September 8. International Literacy Day has been celebrated annually since 1966.
  • Jamaica recognizes the value of literacy to the individual and collective lives of children, the family, the community and the schools.
  • Through literacy, the human race is able to realize its potential and has managed to build a vast modern civilization that trumps the value of education and the ability to read, write, and think critically.

Jamaica is happy to join the rest of the world in celebrating International Literacy Day today, Thursday, September 8. International Literacy Day has been celebrated annually since 1966.

Jamaica has much to celebrate in the area of literacy. With our National Literacy Rate currently at 86.7% at the primary level, we cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that literacy matters and that literacy is the great game changer, and is the doorway of upward social mobility.

Jamaica recognizes the value of literacy to the individual and collective lives of children, the family, the community and the schools. This year’s theme: “Reading the Past, Writing the Future.”, emphasizes the close relationship between the realities of the past and those of the present and future. It is in learning the lessons of the past that we can go on to hope for a better future. Indeed knowledge of the past, and understanding how we have come to this point in our history as a people, is important for securing a successful and meaningful future.

Consequently we should not forget that literacy is more than reading and writing; literacy is the power to see the world from different perspectives, to really read the world as it were, understanding the flow of social and personal life within the context of emerging societies. Research has shown that when citizens of a country are literate, it places the country in a better position to meet complex social issues. Poorer countries tend to have lower literacy rates. We should also not forget that when we are literate we are able to use what we know about the past to deal with the challenges of the future.

There is also empirical evidence that there is a positive correlation between strong literacy skills and the overall health and standard of living of citizens of a country. A highly literate nation is filled with people who are strategic, empathetic, critical and tolerant.

These are the qualities that citizens need to embody in order to ensure the economic and social development of a country. Literate citizens respond in creative ways to the challenges in their environment and employ their knowledge and skills to build their communities and nation. Without the benefits of literacy and a complete education, human beings would be miserable creatures, still hunting for meat in the wilds and planting berries in the fields. Through literacy, the human race is able to realize its potential and has managed to build a vast modern civilization that trumps the value of education and the ability to read, write, and think critically.

Therefore on this International Literacy Day, I urge all stakeholders to continue to seek opportunities to promote and commit to the advancement of literacy at the level of the individual, family, community, nation, and world. The Ministry thanks our teachers and every citizen who supports the education of the nation’s children and who help others to read through instruction and example. Let us work together to sustain our achievement in literacy and to continue to make advancements so that every child and adult in Jamaica Land We Love will become literate.