by Kevon Browne
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN) – ‘Literacy for a Human-centered Recovery: Narrowing the Digital Divide’ is the theme for the 2021 commemoration of International Literacy Day (ILD).
The day has been celebrated every year on September 8 since its proclamation by The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1966. According to the UN, the day is a reminder to the international community, of the importance of literacy for individuals, communities and societies, and the need for intensified efforts towards more literate societies.
The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis joins the rest of the world in observance of International Literacy Day (ILD) just as some students return to schools for the new school year for face-to-face instruction.
In a release from the Ministry of Education, Secretary-General for the St. Kitts and Nevis National Commission to UNESCO, Ms Dorothy Warner, expressed that the theme comes at an opportune time as the global community grapples with minimising the negative impact taking place in education as a result of the pandemic.
“All around the world, teachers and learners are tooling up to use various online platforms, ensuring the continuation of learning and enhancing the quality of literacy,” she said.
Minister of Education, Culture, et al. Hon. Jonel Powell shared that the theme “highlights acquiring literacy as a lifelong learning perspective and focuses on educators and their processing to be better able to engage multiple modes to accommodate different types of learners. The ability to create and use information should not be taken for granted. Learning to read [acquiring knowledge] or becoming literate is a fundamental human right and the foundation of human dignity.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted global youth negatively causing the suspension and closures of schools; forced a change from face-to-face to the virtual classroom setting.
The technology is not accessible by all and has caused major global disruptions in education.
“Undoubtedly, the COVID-19 Pandemic has disrupted the learning of children, young people and adults on an unprecedented scale. Here in our Federation, especially with the onset of community spread, we have experienced lockdowns and the closure of schools. We were forced to suspend face-to-face instruction, halting our usual modes of operation, which adversely affected our students,” said Minister Powell.
Charles A. Halbert (CAH) Public Library joined with several global institutions to commemorate International Literacy Day and expressed how the library helps bridge the digital divide.
The library offers numerous services that enhance digital literacy amongst the population offering computer and Wifi access.