OPUWO: Minister of Education Dr Abraham Iyambo says concerted action is required if the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and ‘Education for All’ targets are to be reached by 2015.
Iyambo made this statement in a speech delivered at an event celebrating International Literacy Day at Opuwo in the Kunene Region on Saturday.“At a Millennium Development Summit held in New York in 2000, humanity committed to work collectively to eradicate dehumanising poverty, insulting hunger, humiliating disease, disempowering ignorance and improving the lives of people,” he noted.Education for All is a global commitment to provide quality basic education for all children, youth and adults.
The minister said literacy is an indispensable component of the development of a strong nation, adding that basic education is a human right recognised by the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. “The people of Kunene are thirsty for education, knowledge and skills. I have seen your thirst to obtain knowledge, I have witnessed your willingness and urgency to change your environment and that of your children. Today, your decision to empower yourself with knowledge is core to the future stability and survival of Namibia,” he stressed.
The global family has committed itself to the United Nations’ (UN) MDGs to achieve universal primary education by 2015, and to eliminate gender disparity in education.“2015 is only three years away. It is sad that globally, there are still 77 million primary school-age children who are not enrolled in schools, and 793 million adults who still lack reading and writing skills.
Of this staggering figure, the proportion of women who are not literate is very high, equating to 64.9 per cent and for youth, 127.3 million globally,” said Iyambo. He added that these figures are ‘a collective shame and sin’ for all nations, including Namibia.
“Why have they been neglected, and their human rights abused? Why are they condemned to slavery of a lack of education? Why are wealth, riches and beauty being wasted, and not being unleashed to serve humanity?” the minister wanted to know before inviting politicians as well as church and traditional leaders to inspire and motivate adults to attend literacy classes.“We will root out illiteracy by might and force. We are committed to a better and prosperous Namibia,” noted Iyambo.
Twenty years ago, 36 per cent of Namibia’s adult population lacked basic literacy skills in their mother tongue, meaning only 64 per cent of the population could read and write in their mother tongue, the minister stated.He added that today, Namibia can ‘proudly and jubilantly’ celebrate the fact that 87.7 per cent of its people are literate and can read and write, meaning they are “liberated from the shackles of illiteracy and ignorance”.