This year’s theme for International Literacy Day 2019 is: “Literacy and Multilingualism.” The local theme will be “Reading and writing in different languages is a source of knowledge.” Rwanda will join the rest of the World on Sunday 8 September 2019, and celebrate at a national level in Nyamagabe District at the Nyagisenyi Stadium.
The Ministry of Education has extended the celebration from a single day to the entire month of September. During the formal launch of National Literacy Month at the International Literacy Day Celebration, key activities related to the Cultural Month will be held such as read-aloud sessions, debates and book talks, literacy walks, literacy competitions and awards.
The International Literacy Day is an opportunity to highlight improvements in world literacy rates and reflect on global literacy challenges. This year is the International Year of Indigenous Languages with a highlight on mother language-based multilingual approaches to literacy as a pillar to education.
Speaking at a press conference, Minister of State, Dr. Isaac Munyakazi called for the love and respect of the mother tongue on all formats, a cornerstone of Rwanda’s identity.
“Pupils should learn in Kinyarwanda and building strong foundations through early childhood. Children who learned to read in their mother tongue will be able to read in additional languages and be able to understand other subjects easily. As we are improving the culture of reading, we are producing content in various formats for people with and without disabilities.”
In an effort to develop and foster a culture of reading among children and adults in Rwanda, the Ministry of Education through the Rwanda Education Board and in cooperation with development partners launched Rwanda Reads in 2012. Today Rwanda Reads has over 200 members representing community libraries, the book sector, NGOs and civil society, formal education, MINEDUC, MINISPOC, and others.
In 1966, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) officially proclaimed September 8th International Literacy Day to remind the international community of the importance of literacy for individuals, communities, and societies. International Literacy Day has since then been celebrated worldwide.