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  • UNESCO Celebrates 50 years of Literacy Engagement and Achievement

    Seychelles touts its own success

    This year UNESCO celebrates its 50th year since it has been engaged in promoting and sustaining worldwide efforts to make literacy a priority and increase literacy rates. On the 8th 2016, Under the theme "Reading the Past, Writing the Future," UNESCO is once again reaffirming its commitment towards literacy; celebrating its achievements in the past decades while also addressing present challenges and seeking for new ways to boost literacy in the future. It was on the 8th of September 1966 that this noble work started. UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova analyzes, "The world has changed since 1966 – but our determination to provide every woman and man with the skills, capacities and opportunities to become everything they wish, in dignity and respect, remains as firm as ever. Literacy is a foundation to build a more sustainable future for all."

    UNESCO's special emphasis on world literacy is based on the recognition that the right to literacy is the basic human right of every individual. It also stems from the realisation that literacy's benefits are wide-ranging; from the development of self-esteem; empowerment; increased political participation; the expansion of democracy; the promotion of cultural exchanges - challenging attitudes and cultural patterns; the social benefits of maintaining good health and reproductive behaviour; economic growth; educational benefits and gender equality.

    EDUCATION 2030 – The Agenda for Sustainable Development

    Marking the first year of the implementation of this educational agenda, International Literacy Day 2016 celebration is doubly special.

    This new vision for education was formalised in May 2015 when UNESCO member states adopted the Incheon Declaration and Framework for Action, pledging to transform lives through education, recognizing its pivotal role as the main driver of development. Impacted by the proposed SDG 4 "Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong opportunities for all," it supports an engagement to offer lifelong learning opportunities, specially focusing on youth and adults – one that Seychelles undertook many years back.

    38 years of Literacy – Seychelles a Success story

    In Seychelles, the programme was launched by UNESCO in 1978 with the support of the government, in view that at that time literacy in the country was rated at 36%. A pilot project which was further conducted in the areas of Mont Buxton (Greenwich), Anse aux Pins and Grand' Anse Mahé districts confirmed the need for adult education.

    Offered free for the participants, the National Literacy programme is given as much importance by the government as any other form of education programme.  It is designed for out of school youths and other adults who have the need to acquire a sound level of Education and comprises three subjects in the National languages: Kreol, English, French and Mathematics and offered at three levels:

    Level one is designed for illiterates or persons with very little subject knowledge.

    Level two is designed for persons with sound primary subject knowledge.

    Level three is designed for persons with a fair level of language and numeracy capacity

    Initially administered by the Adult Learning and Distance Education Centre (ALDEC) now the Seychelles Institute of Distance and Open Learning (SIDOL), the mandate to offer lifelong learning is unequivocal. In addition, the successes of the programme can never be over stated.

    The National Census of 2002 revealed that the literacy rate had risen from 36% to 91.1%, a figure which surpassed UNESCO's target of having 50% world literacy rate by 2015. In 2012, UNESCO estimated the literacy rate in Seychelles to be at 99.6%. The reduction in literacy participants and certificate recipients at the Literacy day certificate giving ceremony year after year, attests to the success Seychelles has achieved in making its nation one that is literate. This year for example, the certificates recipients stand at forty-seven (47).

    Dawning of a New Literacy Era

    The Ministry of Education through the Seychelles Institute of Distance and Open Learning (SIDOL) is bracing itself to forge this new era for literacy in Seychelles in 2016 and beyond. Paraphrasing the words of the Minister for Education,  Mrs Macsuzy Mondon'  in her address during the Certificate giving Ceremony on the occasion of the International Literacy Day 2015, there is a  need for a bridging after the present Literacy Programme to bring all learners up to compulsory level of education which is now Secondary Five. This is a challenge that we will surmount successfully, as we implement Education 2030.