SPEECH TO BE READ BY THE ZANEC BOARD MEMBER MR. CHISENGA MUMBA DELIVERED DURING THE WORLD LITEARACY DAY HELD ON 10TH SEPTEMBER, 2019 IN NDOLA, CENTRAL PROVINCE

SPEECH TO BE READ BY THE ZANEC BOARD MEMBER MR. CHISENGA MUMBA DELIVERED DURING THE WORLD LITEARACY DAY HELD ON 10TH SEPTEMBER, 2019 IN NDOLA, CENTRAL PROVINCE

THE GUEST OF HONOUR,

GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS PRESENT,

CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS PRESENT,

MEMBERS OF THE PRESS,

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

MAY I SIMPLY SAY ALL PROTOCOLS OBSERVED.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

IT IS MY SINGULAR HONOUR AND PRIVILEGE TO DELIVER THIS SPEECH ON BEHALF OF THE ZAMBIA NATIONAL EDUCATION COALITION (ZANEC) AND THE BROADER CIVIL SOCIETY.  FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO MAY NOT BE AWARE, ZANEC IS AN UMBRELLA ORGANISATION OF NGOS WORKING IN THE EDUCATION AND SKILLS SECTOR. CURRENTLY, ZANEC HAS 72 MEMBERS THAT INCLUDE COMMUNITY BASED ORGANIZATIONS, FAITH BASED ORGANIZATIONS, NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS, TEACHER TRADE UNIONS AND STUDENT UNIONS WORKING IN THE EDUCATION SECTOR COUNTRYWIDE. OUR MISSION IS TO SERVE AS A NATIONAL COALITION OF EDUCATION ORGANIZATIONS PROMOTING QUALITY AND INCLUSIVE EDUCATION FOR ALL THROUGH RESEARCH, ADVOCACY AND MEMBER CAPACITY BUILDING.  ZANEC MAINLY WORKS THROUGH FIVE EDUCATION THEMATIC SUBSECTORS NAMELY EARLY CHILDHOOD, CARE, DEVELOPMENT AND EDUCATION (ECCDE); PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION; GENDER EQUALITY; TERTIARY AND SKILLS DEVELOPMENT; AND THE YOUTH AND ADULT LITERACY SUBSECTOR.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

WE ARE EXCITED AS A COALITION TO BE PART OF THIS YEAR’S COMMEMORATION OF THE WORLD LITEARACY DAY, THE REASON FOR WHICH WE ARE ALL GATHERED HERE. AS YOU ARE AWARE, THE MAIN CHALLENGE THAT OUR EDUCATION SYSTEM IS CURRENTLY FACING IS THE LOW LITERACY LEVELS EVEN AMONG OUR CHILDREN AT PRIMARY SCHOOL LEVEL.  AS WE HEARD FROM OUR EXPERTS DURING THE NATIONAL SYMPOSIUM PRESENTATIONS YESTERDAY, SOME RECENT STUDIES SHOW THAT ONLY 5% OF OUR GRADE 7 PUPILS ARE ABLE TO READ AND WRITE. THIS IN ITSELF SHOWS THAT OUR EDUCATION SYSTEM IS EXPERIENCING A LITEARACY CRISIS AND SOMETHING NEEDS TO BE DONE NOW TO REVERSE THE CURRENT STATUS.

THIS YEAR’S THEME LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, WHICH IS “LITERACY AND MULTI – LINGUALISM” RE-AFFIRMS THE IMPORTANT ROLE THAT LITERACY PLAYS IN A PERSON’S WELLBEING AND THE ABILITY TO CONTRIBUTE TO NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT. LITERACY, WHICH SIMPLY REFERS TO ONE’S ABILITY TO READ AND WRITE IS IMPORTANT ESPECIALLY IN THIS ERA WHERE ALMOST ALL FORMS OF TRANSACTIONS REQUIRE SOME LEVEL OF PROFICIENCY IN READING AND WRITING.

KNOWING HOW TO READ AND WRITE IN YOUR MOTHER LANGUAGE ALONE IS INADEQUATE ESPECIALLY IN THIS MODERN GLOBAL VILLAGE.  INSTEADY, HAVING PROFICIENCY IN MULTIPLE LANGUAGES BECOMES IMPORTANT FOR EFFECTIVE INTERCULTURAL INTERACTION, SOCIALISATION AND GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT. HAVING A WORKING KNOWLEDGE OF MANY LANGUAGES IS ALSO KEY IN FOSTERING PEACE AND STABLE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. IN A GLOBALISED WORLD LIKE THE ONE WE LIVE IN, BEING ABLE TO NEGIOCIATE AND BARGAIN IN PEOPLE’S NATIVE LANGUAGE, WHETHER IT BE CHINESE, ENGLISH OR FRENCH, INCREASES THE CHANCES OF BUILDING LASTING ECONOMIC RELATIONSHIPS. THIS IS BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE MORE LIKELY TO UNDERSTAND AND TRUST YOU WHEN YOU SPEAK THEIR LANGUAGE.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

 ZANEC NOTES WITH SADNESS, HOWEVER, THAT ILLITEARACY LEVELS REMAIN VERY HIGH IN ZAMBIA. AS EVIDENCED FROM THE DEMOGRAPHIC SURVEY PUBLISHED BY THE CENTRAL STATISTICAL OFFICE, 68 PERCENT OF WOMEN AND 83 PERCENT OF MEN BOTH AGED 15 TO 49 ARE LITERATE, WHILE ONLY 54 PERCENT OF RURAL WOMEN ARE LITERATE. 

THIS LADIES AND GENTLEMEN UNDERSCORES THE URGENT NEED FOR GOVERNMENT AND STAKEHOLDERS TO PUT A PREMIUM ON PROMOTING LITERACY IF ZAMBIA IS TO ACHIEVE ITS EDUCATION SECTOR GOALS AND THE VISION 2030 OF NOT LEAVING ANYONE BEHIND.  THERE IS THEREFORE URGENT NEED TO PRIORITISE LITERACY IN OUR COUNTRY IN ORDER FOR US TO BENEFIT FROM THE INVESTMENT THAT WE ARE MAKING IN THE EDUCATION SECTOR.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

WE ALSO TAKE THE OPPORTUNITY TO APPEAL TO OUR GOVERNMENT THROUGH THE MINISTRY OF FINANCE TO ALLOCATE AT LEAST 20% OF THE NATIONAL BUDGET TO THE EDUCATION AND SKILLS SECTOR. THROUGH OUR ANALYSIS OF THE 2019 NATIONAL BUDGET TO THE EDUCATION AND SKILLS SECTOR, WE OBSERVED WITH CONCERN THAT THE ACTUAL ALLOCATION TO YOUTH AND ADULT EDUCATION HAD BEEN REDUCED BY 31%.

LADIES AND GENLEMEN

AM HAPPY TO INFORM YOU THAT YESTERDAY WE HELD A SUCCESFUL NATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON LITERACY WHERE A NUMBER OF CONCERNS WERE DELIBERATED ON SUCH AS HOW TO IMPROVE LITERACY LEVELS IN OUR BELOVED COUNTRY. WE ARE HOPEFUL AS CIVIL SOCIETY THAT THE MINISTRY OF GENERAL EDUCATION AND ALL OF US STAKHOLDERS WILL ACT UPON THE RECOMMENDATIONS AND ACTION POINTS THAT WERE AGREED UPON AT THE SYMPOSIUM. IT IS OUR HOPE THAT OUR COLlEAGUES FROM THE MEDIA WILL ALSO WIDELY DISSEMINATE THE COMMUNIQUE ISSUED DURING THE SYMPOSIUM IN ORDER TO FOSTER INCREASED AWARENESS AND ACTION FOR IMPROVED LITERACY LEVELS IN OUR COUNTRY. FINALLY LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, I WOULD LIKE TO WISH ALL OF YOU A FRUITFUL WORLD LITERACY DAY COMMEMORATION. I THANK YOU AND MAY GOD BLESS YOU ALL.

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