Thawale Secondary School in Mwanza was graced by pomp and fanfare when its grounds held a ceremony celebrating International Literacy Day on 8th September, 2014. During the ceremony 50 people out of a total of 426 students received their awards after graduating from an adult literacy class.
In her remarks one of the graduates, Lucia Davido who is also a Group Village Head woman in the area, described her journey to literacy as hard but worth it. She encouraged all people who are illiterate to patronize adult literacy classes.
“I decided to enroll in adult literacy classes because of the struggles I was facing in life. I could not read and write. As chief I receive so many letters but because I could not read I was forced to go and seek assistance from elsewhere to get the messages. This was not only embarrassing but also time consuming. I therefore decided to enroll in the classes to ease my problems,” said Davido in her testimony during the ceremony.
Davido says she is grateful to be able to read and write, but has a desire to continue learning so that she should be able to speak English, in order to be able to communicate with different people as well as participate in development activities in her community.
The chief also called upon men in the district to patronize the schools, because most of the people who attend adult literacy classes were women. Men do not attend the classes because most of them are ashamed of being in the same classes with women, and therefore they shun the classes.
Minister for Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Hon. Patricia Kaliati who graced the occasion was full of praise for adult literacy and requested people in the area to patronize classes as one way of developing the nation.
Kaliati, lamented high rates of illiteracy in the country stating that literacy does not only help a person know how to read and write but also, gives one the ability to take care of one’s household as well as have self-esteem and be self-reliant.
Said Kaliati “the government prioritises education because it is a catalyst for national development, it is also important because it helps in improving the economy of the country. Education therefore benefits everyone.”
The minister then requested different organization, members of the press and religious organisations to help promote all forms of education from pre-school to graduate school because all of them are important and therefore need to be coordinated.
The Literacy Day whose theme was ‘Literacy and Sustainable Development’ was held in Mwanza because the district is among those with highest levels of illiteracy in the country.
District Community Development Officer for Mwanza, Phillip Mponda said the district has an illiteracy level of 41%.
The number of people who participated in adult literacy classes for the graduating class in the district was 2,879 of which, only 616 people were assessed with 426 passing, representing 62% pass rate.
The International Literacy Day was designated by UNESCOworld congress of Ministers of Education in 1965 with the aim of highlighting the importance of literacy, and to be used as a tool for development.