The Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has emphasised the need to prioritise the promotion of Edo language and use of digital learning tools as strategies to drive literacy and make learning functional and pleasurable in the digital age.
Governor Obaseki said this in commemoration of International Literacy Day marked every September 8, by the United Nations (UN) and its organs.
The governor, who noted the state government’s efforts in driving digital learning and promoting Edo language in schools across the state, stressed the need for other policy makers and civil society organisations (CSOs) to join government in promoting literacy and multilingualism, especially among school children.
The governor said the theme for this year’s commemoration, Literacy and Multilingualism, mirrors the focus of his administration in promoting indigenous languages, noting that efforts to get more Edo children to learn their mother tongue would be intensified.
According to him, “As we commemorate the International Literacy Day, I want to use this opportunity to emphasise the need to promote Edo language so as to ensure that our children do not lose their identities and forget the essence of our great, indefatigable civilisation.
“The state government has ensured that Edo language is taught in schools and the Benin Heritage Center is partnering with the government for summer classes on Edo Language for students. The Center for Edo Studies is also working to promote literacy in other Edo languages.”
He added that with the ongoing reforms of Edo schools through the Edo Basic Education Transformation (Edo-BEST) programme, the state would leave no stone unturned in ensuring that children are conscientised to learn indigenous languages and cultures.
According to the UN, “International Literacy Day 2019 is an opportunity to express solidarity with the celebrations of the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages and the 25th anniversary of the World Conference on Special Needs Education, at which the Salamanca Statement on Inclusive Education was adopted.
“International Literacy Day 2019 focuses on ‘Literacy and Multilingualism.’ Despite progress made, literacy challenges persist, distributed unevenly across countries and populations. Embracing linguistic diversity in education and literacy development is central to addressing these literacy challenges and to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.”