Great Plains Col­lege and South­west Lit­er­acy Com­mit­tee cel­e­brate “Lit­er­acy and Multilingu­alism”

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - CITY NEWS - Con­tributed

In­ter­na­tional Lit­er­acy Day is cel­e­brated across the world on Septem­ber 8. Great Plains Col­lege will cel­e­brate In­ter­na­tional Lit­er­acy Day (ILD) on Tues­day, Septem­ber 10, in part­ner­ship with South­west Lit­er­acy Com­mit­tee.

United Na­tions Ed­u­ca­tional, Sci­en­tific and Cul­tural Or­ga­ni­za­tion (UNESCO) has de­clared “Lit­er­acy for Multilingu­alism” as the 2019 theme for ILD, which cor­re­sponds with the United Na­tions dec­la­ra­tion of 2019 as the In­ter­na­tional Year of Indige­nous Lan­guages.

The year 2019 is also sig­nif­i­cant as it marks the 25th an­niver­sary on Spe­cial Needs Ed­u­ca­tion. Since 1967, ILD has been cel­e­brated around the world to em­pha­size the im­por­tance of lit­er­acy as a mat­ter of dig­nity and hu­man rights, and to ad­vance the lit­er­acy agenda to­ward a more lit­er­ate and sus­tain­able so­ci­ety.

At the 30th ses­sion of UNESCO, 1999, a res­o­lu­tion was passed on “mul­ti­lin­gual ed­u­ca­tion,” which in­cludes mother tongue(s), re­gional or na­tional lan­guage, and an in­ter­na­tional lan­guage.

Mul­ti­lin­gual ed­u­ca­tion, if ad­min­is­tered well, can have very pos­i­tive learn­ing out­comes and be a sig­nif­i­cant tool in pro­mot­ing cul­tural di­ver­sity and a sense of in­ter­con­nect­ed­ness be­tween coun­tries and population­s.

“The ‘mul­ti­plier ef­fect’ of lit­er­acy em­pow­ers peo­ple, en­ables them to par­tic­i­pate fully in so­ci­ety and leads to im­proved liveli­hoods,” ex­plains Bula Ghosh, South­west Lit­er­acy Com­mit­tee mem­ber and lit­er­acy co­or­di­na­tor at Great Plains Col­lege.

“Lit­er­acy is an in­trin­sic part of sus­tain­able devel­op­ment and has sig­nif­i­cant ef­fect on qual­ity of life. Mul­ti­lin­gual ed­u­ca­tion can help to en­hance lit­er­acy devel­op­ment and in­ter­cul­tural un­der­stand­ing.”

The Swift Cur­rent Branch Li­brary plays a sig­nif­i­cant role in lit­er­acy and skills devel­op­ment through a va­ri­ety of pro­grams, in­clud­ing com­puter skills train­ing, build­ing ro­bots, book clubs and more.

There are bilin­gual or mul­ti­lin­gual books avail­able at the li­brary for fam­i­lies and in­di­vid­u­als who want to pur­sue their mother tongue(s) devel­op­ment while learn­ing other lan­guages.

“Great Plains Col­lege also works year-round to pro­mote lit­er­acy and life­long learn­ing through the Adult Ba­sic Ed­u­ca­tion and English Lan­guage Train­ing pro­grams in par­tic­u­lar,” says Ghosh.

“We are ex­cited to be work­ing with our part­ners to raise aware­ness on the im­por­tance of lit­er­acy, par­tic­u­larly mul­ti­lin­gual ed­u­ca­tion for every­one in our com­mu­nity.”

Glob­ally, 758 mil­lion youth and adults do not read and write. Ap­prox­i­mately 250 mil­lion chil­dren do not have ba­sic lit­er­acy skills.

In Canada, four out of ten adults do not have func­tional lit­er­acy skills. This is a mat­ter of con­cern in our knowl­edge-based econ­omy in Canada.

“We are pleased that the City of Swift Cur­rent has agreed to pro­claim Septem­ber 9 to 15 as In­ter­na­tional Lit­er­acy Week, and we want to en­cour­age other in­di­vid­u­als and com­mu­nity agen­cies to par­tic­i­pate in their own spe­cial way to pro­mote mul­ti­lin­gual ed­u­ca­tion and life­long learn­ing,” said Ghosh.

“Lit­er­acy af­fects our lives in many ways. Let us par­tic­i­pate in life­long learn­ing, in­ter­cul­tural un­der­stand­ing and be bet­ter pre­pared to be mem­bers of a global so­ci­ety.”

Great Plains Col­lege will cel­e­brate In­ter­na­tional Lit­er­acy Day on Tues­day, Septem­ber 10, with a lit­er­acy dis­play at the col­lege to in­crease aware­ness and pro­mote multilingu­alism.

Cof­fee and re­fresh­ments will be served from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and at­ten­dees can par­tic­i­pate in a quiz to test their lit­er­acy skills and win prizes.

The Swift Cur­rent Li­brary and Newcomer Wel­come Cen­tre will also be host­ing events dur­ing the week of the City of Swift Cur­rent’s procla­ma­tion.

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