Windhoek-With Adult Learners Week and International Literacy Day currently being celebrated, the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture has announced that the government’s literacy programme has enrolled and benefited over 600,000 Namibians over the past 25 years.
September 1 marked the beginning of Adult Learners Week and International Literacy Day celebrations, which will end on Friday.
The national, as well as international, theme this year is ‘Literacy in a Digital World’.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, Sanet Steenkamp, on Friday said the theme strongly calls for all non-formal and formal education providers to make the shift from passive technology use to thoughtful applications of technology to create new content and process information at higher levels.
However, she said the adult education system still has many challenges such as repetition rates that remain high at all centres.
Equally, she explained, the high dropout rate of adult learners also poses a challenge, adding that these challenges are high among the disadvantaged and more marginalized communities. The marginalized groups comprise of farmworkers, San adult learners and Ovahimba adult learners. Steenkamp said for most of the affected groups some of the factors contributing to repetition and dropout rates are poverty and attitudes shown towards literacy programmes.
She said the ministry through the department of lifelong learning has been the driving force behind the massive literacy programme.
According to the 2011 Population and Housing Census, the literacy rate in Namibia stood at 98 percent with male literacy at 89 percent and female literacy at 88.5 percent.
Further, Steenkamp said the celebrations of the week are significant as they serve as a constant reminder of the need to increase efforts curbing illiteracy.
She emphasized that the week has become an important milestone in the calendar of the ministry and will remain so for years to come.
“This is because the ministry attaches great importance to functional literacy as much as it does to formal education, as together the two educational systems contribute to the creation of efficient human resources for our dear nation. Human resource development is dear to every nation and that is why countries all over the world are intensifying efforts towards the reduction of illiteracy to single digits, and Namibia is no exception,” Steenkamp noted.
She appealed to all Namibians to consider the celebrations around Adult Learners Week and International Literacy Day as very important, in view of the fact that the United Nations set aside the annual date in 1965 for appraising efforts towards the reduction of illiteracy, in which, she said, Namibia has made great strides.