Li­braries won’t be used if peo­ple can’t read

The Southern Gazette - - EDITORIAL - Michael Ma­her St. John’s

There has been a great hue and cry about the Ball ad­min­is­tra­tion pulling fund­ing for li­braries in our prov­ince. It is good to see peo­ple con­cerned about read­ing fa­cil­i­ties. But I find it very ironic that nowhere have I seen such con­cern about who would use these li­braries.

We have a much more se­ri­ous prob­lem con­cern­ing read­ing fa­cil­i­ties. We have a prob­lem that is very hard to be­lieve; a prob­lem be­yond any other that we may have.

Sixty per cent of peo­ple in this prov­ince be­tween the ages of 16 and 65 are il­lit­er­ate. They have been re­leased from our schools as teenagers and they can­not read.

Why is this great tragedy be­ing ig­nored? Our gov­ern­ment repre- sen­ta­tives are be­ing paid large salaries; so are our teach­ers. But they do noth­ing. Our gov­ern­ment rep­re­sen­ta­tives sit in the seat of gov­ern­ment, the House of Assem­bly, and clap like trained seals. Some of our teach­ers, by the age of 50, are com­plain­ing about be­ing burnt out. There are coun­tries in the world that have 100 per cent lit­er­acy rates, such as Nor­way, Cuba, Den­mark — just to name three. We have the worst lit­er­acy rate in all of Canada. In the last 50 years we have spent hun­dreds of mil­lions on ed­u­ca­tion and the re­sults are hor­ren­dous.

The so­lu­tion to this prob­lem does not re­quire a stupid royal com­mis­sion but rather a trip to Nor­way or Cuba to meet an ed­u­ca­tor to tell us what we must do to rid our peo­ple of a curse worse than the Great Plague.

What a weight we at­tach to 60 per cent of our youth to send them into the world un­able to read. If there was any way to get back the mon­eys we have paid those tens of thou­sands of peo­ple re­spon­si­ble for this, we should de­mand it be re­paid.

For God’s sake, do not blame the parents for this.

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