Kigali, 13 August 2014
This week Rwanda joined the rest of the world to celebrate International Literacy Day under the theme “Stand Up for Literacy”. The week included different activities to promote a reading culture through competitions, public lectures and awareness raising.
“Each year the world highlights the importance of literacy by celebrating International Literacy Day on September 8. Rwanda has chosen to extend the celebration to Literacy Week to emphasize the value of literacy in our society and to provide an opportunity for collaboration among organisations and individuals committed to promoting our common goal – a culture of reading throughout Rwanda”, Minister of Education Prof. Silas Lwakabamba said. Talking to the importance of literacy, Irina Bokova the Director General of UNESCO said that literacy helps to develop the world and reduce poverty as well.
“Literacy helps reduce poverty and enables people to find jobs and obtain higher salaries. It is one of the most efficient ways of improving the health of mothers and children, understanding doctors’ prescriptions and gaining access to healthcare”.
Today, 781 million adults worldwide cannot read, write or count. Two thirds of them are women. More than 250 million children are unable to read a single sentence, even though half of them have spent four years in school. The fourth Population and Housing Census in Rwanda conducted in August 2012 shows that 68% of Rwandans aged 15 years and above were literate, up from 64.4% in 2002. A person is qualified as literate if they are able to read, write and understand at least one language.
In 2012 in Rwanda, men were more literate (72%) than women (65%). In an effort to develop and foster a culture of reading among children and adults, the Ministry of Education launched in 2012 Rwanda Reads, a four-year initiative aimed at promoting a reading culture. It will target various groups, ranging from schoolchildren to elders.