Pacific Community calls for more attention on literacy

Published: Tue 8 Sep 2015 08:55 AM
Pacific Community calls for more attention on literacy and learning
Improving literacy rates in the Pacific Islands should be widely accepted as a priority and shared responsibility if the development aspirations for the region are to be realised, according to the Director-General of the Pacific Community, Dr Colin Tukuitonga.
Speaking on International Literacy Day today (8 September), Dr Tukuitonga said that while the Pacific region has good school enrolment rates, low literacy levels remain a major concern.
“Our region’s future prosperity and ability to effectively tackle major challenges like climate change, poverty and non-communicable diseases, depends on the drive, determination and quality of learning outcomes for tomorrow’s decision makers,” said Dr Tukuitonga.
“Those who are literate take it for granted, while those who can’t read and write are often not heard.
“With our development partners, we work alongside Ministries of Education to support Pacific Community members in their efforts to improve literacy and numeracy outcomes, and this is a vital part of investing in the future,” he said, referring to this year’s theme ‘Literacy and Sustainable Societies’.
Through its Educational Quality and Assessment Programme (EQAP), the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) provides technical support to learning systems at the country and territory level to improve the region’s teaching and learning outcomes.
The EQAP team in Suva, Fiji, is this week distributing papers for the 2015 Pacific Islands Literacy and Numeracy Assessment (PILNA) in English, French and seven other Pacific Island languages.
The previous PILNA in 2012, tailored for Years Four and Six at primary schools, revealed that just three out of 10 pupils achieved basic literacy levels while five out of 10 achieved basic numeracy levels.
“The 2015 literacy and numeracy assessment will provide a vital comparison to gauge the progress we’ve made collectively in trying to improve literacy in the region,” Dr Tukuitonga said.

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