International Literacy Day

10 September 2019

Starting from 1966, International Literacy Day has been being celebrated worldwide annually on 8th September. It is to give awareness of the importance of literacy for individuals, as well as communities.

In Myanmar, which has been through different periods, the literacy rate had dropped in colonial period. “Starting from the post-war era, the governments of all time have activated the literacy campaign. Especially starting from 1964, there was a huge public campaign participated by all citizens. As a result, over 2 million citizens of that time became literate. To commemorate this event, we have been holding the International Literacy Day annually.”, said U Myo Thant, President of The Literacy and Regional Development Service Association.

He continued, “Generally, until 1984, over 2.5 million people out of illiterate people turned to be literate. Then, because of many situations, the literacy campaign has stopped. However, it was operated again in 2013. Later, the primary schools were opened in the rural areas and the number of literate people under 50 years has increased. According to the database of 2018, over 92% of Myanmar citizens are literate and we are working towards for the literacy of the rest 8%.”

“When we planned the 1964 campaign of Literacy, the committee to produce the adult textbook under the lead of Sayar Min Thu Wun was founded. Being a professional linguist, Sayar Min Thu Wun invented the teaching method of “Wa Hta Ka La Tha” to be easier learning for the adult. This teaching method is still being used till the present time.”, said U Myo Thant.

Since 2014 The Literacy and Regional Development Service Association was founded with the volunteers of literacy activists from different universities and colleges.

Patron of The Literacy and Regional Development Service Association, Dr. Than Oo, said, “It is glad to see that the active participants of the public campaign, which has started in 55 years ago, gather under The Literacy and Regional Development Service Association. It is the great gathering of fulfilling the educational, health and social needs of the people from the rural areas.”

Then, U Myo Thant talked about the performances of the association, “In the rural areas which are too far away from the city, we provide teaching for the quality education as well as to achieve the higher exam-pass rate. We opened the libraries, and donated the books for the schools and the libraries. We have held literature talks for the awareness of morality, drug quitting, and knowledge sharing. Moreover, we have provided the domestic courses.”

Mg Okkar Lin Yan from B.E.H.S (4) Hinthada, who won the first prize in essay competition, expressed his opinion, “Wisdom can make the country develop. So, the students should not waste their time by using phones and they should read more. Besides from school education, we also should seek for general knowledge.”

In the developing age of the country, there is increasing rate of literacy. However, it is also crucial to have access of quality education as well as outside school education.

Thaw Tar Swe Zin