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  • The event, which included storytelling and readings of poetry and short stories to the children by representatives of Government and the literary community, was staged by the Ministry in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and IOJ to mark International Literacy Day on Saturday (September 8).
  • “Literacy is the first step towards freedom and liberation from social and economic constraints. It is the prerequisite for development, both individual and collective. It reduces poverty and inequality, creates wealth and helps to eradicate problems of nutrition and public health,” she noted. 
  • The aim of International Literacy Day is to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies. Each year, UNESCO reminds the international community of the status of literacy and adult learning globally.

Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, hosted a Read-In session with scores of students from Corporate Area schools at the Institute of Jamaica (IOJ), downtown Kingston, on Friday (September 7).

The event, which included storytelling and readings of poetry and short stories to the children by representatives of Government and the literary community, was staged by the Ministry in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and IOJ to mark International Literacy Day on Saturday (September 8).

In her remarks, Ms. Grange noted the importance of the observance.

“It seeks to remind the public of the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights, and the creation of a… sustainable society,” she said.

Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, in a message read by Secretary- General for the Jamaica National Commission for UNESCO, Everton Hannam, said that the organisation remains committed to promoting literacy as a tool for correcting social issues.

“Literacy is the first step towards freedom and liberation from social and economic constraints. It is the prerequisite for development, both individual and collective. It reduces poverty and inequality, creates wealth and helps to eradicate problems of nutrition and public health,” she noted.

Ms. Azoulay noted that in recent decades, “considerable progress has been made in all regions of the world and millions of men and women have been lifted from ignorance and dependency, through a broad-based movement of literacy and the democratisation of access to education”.

Attendees included State Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, and Chairman of the Youth Advisory Committee of the Jamaica National Commission for UNESCO, Senator the Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr.; former Poet Laureate, Professor Mervyn Morris; winner of the Poet Laureate of Jamaica and Helen Zell Young Writers Prize for Poetry, Lauren Delapena; College Orator at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts and noted cultural authority, Dr. Amina Blackwood-Meeks, who read to the children; as well as UNESCO officials.

The aim of International Literacy Day is to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies. Each year, UNESCO reminds the international community of the status of literacy and adult learning globally.

This year’s focus is on youth and adults within the lifelong-learning framework under the theme ‘Literacy and Skills Development’.

Today’s event included tributes in honour of the 99th anniversary of the birth of Jamaica’s renowned cultural icon, the Hon. Louise Bennett-Coverley, “Miss Lou”.