National Literacy Month launched countrywide
On 21st September 2020, the Ministry of Education in partnership with the Ministry of Youth and Culture through Soma Rwanda launched the National Literacy Month to strengthen the reading and writing culture. The launch took place in Rwanda Broadcasting Agency Studio, so that the public could follow it live on national Radio and Television, due to COVID-19 preventive measures, given that there could be no gatherings as it used to be in the past. The ceremony was presided over by Hon. Edouard BAMPORIKI, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Youth and Culture.
In his opening remarks, Hon. BAMPORIKI said: “We are launching this literacy month to promote the reading culture so that we acquire more knowledge. Let us also be aware that when we adopt the reading culture, we can easily start the process of writing books, then pave the way for economic development both for our families and the country in general”.
Stressing the importance of reading and writing, the Minister of State in Charge of Primary and Secondary Education Hon. Gaspard TWAGIRAYEZU said: “This literacy month aims at ensuring that all parents are involved in the reading process at home by reading with their children or reading for them at least 15 minutes every day”.
He later emphasized that when children are used to read in 15 minutes, they can also add on some minutes and read for long and therefore read big sized books.
“With COVID 19 outbreak, children are not going to schools and it is an occasion for them to read more books than before. When someone reads a big sized book he/ she is more knowledgeable”
During this month parents are encouraged to take 15 minutes every day and read with /for their children, parents or other individuals. They can also participate in “Read Aloud Challenge” by sharing photos or videos on social media showing them with the mentored child in the reading activity. They are again requested to facilitate children to learn at home by following Radio/TV lessons, and support him/her to know the schedules, avail time for doing exercises and assignments.
Although some parents are not knowledgeable, they still can play their role by being on the side of the children and availing time for learning and make close follow up that children are not wasting time while studying.
As part of the activities to promote the reading culture, Minister of State TWAGIRAYEZU read aloud a storybook where a child called Rugero made a strong resolution to study seriously from primary up to the university and later became a renowned medical doctor. This exercise is part of the successive challenges to other high profiles such as the Minister of State in the Ministry of Youth and Culture Hon. Edouard BAMPORIKI, who in his turn challenged other high profiles.
The two Ministers of State participated in a radio talk show on Rwanda TV, Radio Rwanda and affiliated Community Radios, whereby the public was given an opportunity to ask related questions on social media to get more clarifications.
Early February 2020, the Ministry of Education together with Soma Rwanda members launched a one year National Reading Campaign to ensure that children have access to reading materials in schools, home and the community. At national level, the ceremony took place at Sovu Primary School, Kagogo Sector, Kabaya Cell, in Burera district in Northern Province.
Thereafter, literacy promotion activities were organized in the community, aiming at sensitizing children to read at schools and at home, and actively participate in literacy activities such as competitions and going to community libraries.
But since March 2020, with the COVID 19 outbreak in Rwanda, children cannot go to schools or move to community libraries as it used to be. Therefore, it was necessary to change the strategy. MINEDUC through Rwanda Education Board started the remote learning program whereby Children can now access learning courses on different local Radios and TV stations or access e-learning platforms using the electronic devices such as laptops, desktops or smartphones.
In the course of time, parents are encouraged to support their children by all means in the remote learning activity and never forget to avail 15 minutes a day for reading storybooks, newspapers etc.
For parents who don’t know how to read, they can still help their children by giving the child time for reading, asking them to read a book for the parents and helping to know how to correctly pronounce words, ask text comprehension questions, and help in gaining new vocabularies.
In a bid to help children from vulnerable families, partners in education provided a number of radios so that they can follow radio lessons at home. Parents are encouraged to support their children by helping them to do more practices of reading to improve their knowledge.
During this literacy month that will end on 21st 2020, there will be also “writing competitions” for pupils in P4, P5 and P6 and all pupils including those living with disability are strongly encouraged to participate.