2020-09-08 GENERAL HOUSE

8 September: International Literacy Day

How, is it possible that there still an International Literacy Day ? We are now in 2020, and for years literacy should be a concept studied only in history books, as a reality that existed in the past, but from which there is no longer any repercussion in our world. However, we know that we still have to work to make literacy a reality at all levels.

Some might understand the word “literacy” to mean the repetitive process by which a person knows the mechanics of reading and writing. Those of us in education know that literacy should go beyond mere exercises in identifying and reproducing words. We educators do want and must work so that people can make these mechanisms a tool for progress in their lives, enabling them to move forward, to take steps forward, to become more autonomous and self-sufficient, and thus to develop in a more holistic way. Literacy as the first, basic and necessary step towards a fully integrated education.

And we, as Marists of Champagnat, what can we do? It is not only what we can do, but also how much and how well we are already doing. We are specialists in education, and therefore also in literacy. Thousands of brothers and laypeople, throughout their lives, in our lives, have helped and encouraged a greater development of education and literacy.

In the crisis situation in so many parts of the world we are currently experiencing, as a consequences brought about by Covid-19, we must be very attentive so that the achievements made in our educational works are not lost. We will need to reinforce, as soon as possible, the basic processes of teaching-learning.

In remembering this commemoration of International Literacy Day, we also join with all of those bodies, both public and private, lay associations and religious groups… who devote their time and efforts in advancing progress in the better training of people, especially the most vulnerable. We must not forget that this desire is closely linked to some of the Sustainable Development Goals, since a good education will help to eliminate inequalities and promote access to more resources. This commemoration is especially related to Objective 4, which talks about Quality Education.

It is curious to see how, in the Message of the XXII General Chapter, we are reminded of the invitation to “face the challenges of today”, always in search of “the dignity and fundamental equality of all God’s people”. In these times of crisis, mainly produced by the Covid, we are reminded that as Marists of Champagnat we are called to reduce inequalities. One good way is, without a doubt, the strengthening of education.

Every year the United Nations reminds us of an important aspect of literacy. We, specialists in education, in any of its aspects, are called to continue working and deepening from the reality that we have to live. And this is what we are doing, from so many educational centres, seeking access to education for thousands of children and young people. Access to quality education that allows for the integral development of girls, boys and young people.

Br. Ángel Diego – Director of the Secretariat of Solidarity


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