Opinion

Why Reading Is So Important For Our Development

EDITORIAL-World Book Day was commemorated here and around the globe over the weekend. And our Ministry of Education has urged parents to encourage their children to be more proactive when
01 May 2017 11:00
Why Reading Is So Important For Our Development

EDITORIAL-World Book Day was commemorated here and around the globe over the weekend. And our Ministry of Education has urged parents to encourage their children to be more proactive when it comes to reading books.

This is part of a bid by the Government to make Fiji a more literate society. A knowledge based society that punches above its weight in an increasingly complex and competitive world.

There are reasons for concern.

Many parents will remember fondly, how much reading was an important aspect of school life.

Throughout primary school – in urban schools – you were encouraged to make use of the school library, read story books and spend less time in front of the television.

In high school, reading novels, the newspapers and every week a day was always set aside for picking a book front the library. The objective was encouraging students to understand the importance of reading.

Today in the age of texting and Facebook there are real worries that children are no longer reading books. That the standard of English – now the international lingua franca, or common language, of international communication – is falling.

That too, many young people today are no longer reading and writing as they need to.

The Ministry has called on parents to rise up and encourage their children to read, and spend time with their children to reduce worries about illiteracy.

Sustainable Development Goal 4 aims to ensure inclusive and quality education for all. It aims to promote lifelong learning and shows the genuine need for people to attain the basic literacy skills and a key component of this skill is ‘reading’.

A United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) world statistics report reveals that today nearly 17 per cent of the world’s adult population is still not literate; two thirds being women. This makes gender equality even harder to achieve and an estimated 122 million youth globally are illiterate, of which young women represent 60.7 per cent.

UNESCO also shows that 67.4 million children who are out of school are likely to encounter great difficulties in the future, as deficient or nonexistent basic education is the root cause of illiteracy.

In this this new age we must understand continuing education is important. Being literate is essential.

As highlighted at the World Book Day celebrations; information sharing via internet and mobile phones has grabbed attention. It has influenced children in many ways.

Our children are addicted to the new ways of disseminating and receiving information. Reading a book or newspaper is something children are no longer doing automatically.

Former American President John F Kennedy’s wife Jacqueline Kennedy once said that “there are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.”

Let us work together to prevent our children from becoming addicted to the world of texting and Facebook. We need to guide our children and promote books more often. To make sure they are fully literate.

You need only to look to the success of Singapore, where English language literacy was promoted, for an example of what it can achieve.

Parents and guardians should reflect and review their duties and commitment towards facilitating good book reading habits in their children.

There is a need for children to develop a positive attitude towards books.

The seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan once said it well:

“Literacy unlocks the door to learning throughout life, is essential to development and health, and opens the way for democratic participation and active citizenship. Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope.”

 

Feedback:  losirene.lacanivalu@fijisun.com.fj

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