In his remarks, Chief Librarian Sierra Leone Library Board Mr. Salieu Turay said that Sierra Leone as a nation has a responsibility to make the youthful population more aware of the benefits and importance of reading and ensure that they have the literacy skills required to contribute in the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals.
Mr. Turay emphasized that their responsibility is to make intervention in literacy and educational programs that will benefit the populace. He stressed that the International Literacy Day is among the activities set by the Library to draw attention to literacy Issues and disclosed that the day is celebrated by 20 public libraries nation-wide.
Mr. Turay welcome Jessica Faulkner Head of Communications – Book Aid International and describes her presence as an affirmation that with libraries, learning and reading can change lives. He said that libraries have a role to play in determining the advancement of our country by allowing people to contribute meaningfully to national development as knowledge and skills are acquired.
Mr. Turay singled out self learning skill by our youthful population as a challenge to literacy and education in Sierra Leone and admonished the youths to develop self learning skills by inculcating the habit to reading good print and electronic information. He emphasized that there is no way self learning skills could be acquired by our youthful population if they detest books and reading format. Reading makes every other kind of education possible. It is a fundamental building block of learning, becoming skilled and an avid reader enhances the chances of success in schools.
In her remarks, the Head of Communication Book Aid International UK; Madam Jessica Faulkner said that, It is a great thought that the world literacy day is celebrated all over the country. She emphasized that they have a firm belief that books can change lives as through reading people have the chance to change their future and determine what they want to pursue with regards their goals and aspirations in life.
Madam Faulkner reiterated that literacy is the key to development as it is a protector against poverty, ill health and urge all to embrace the culture of reading. She said that when people read they are sure to complete their education, pursue the jobs they dream of; a job that can provide for the family as reading is not only for education but the joy that it can bring.
In his remarks the Director of PEN Sierra Leone Mr. Mohamed Sheriff said that the day is very important to them as their institution promotes literature, in raising awareness and mobilizing public opinion about the importance of literacy and to generate interest among all stakeholders in education to actively support literacy activities.
Mr. Sheriff said that PEN Sierra Leone warmly embraces this year’s theme “Education for the 21st Century” because they believe education should keep pace with the rapid changes taking place today in all spheres of life.
Education in the 21st century means the right to education for all. Every child of school going age must have access to education.
Every child must be computer literate and have some basic skills in using the internet, access information and communicate. Education must be matched by the quality of education being provided as education transforms lives, eradicate poverty and drives sustainable development.
He reiterated that many studies have shown that a child who can read and write well, learns more and is more likely to stay in school and complete his schooling and as a result has a greater ability to advance and contribute to the economic prosperity of society.
He ended up with a note that as we celebrate this day let us reflect on the theme and call on all stakeholders in education to join hands with Government to make literacy for all a right in practice not just on paper.