Literacy level in Tanzania makes remarkable progress - don

09Sep 2017
James Kandoya
The Guardian
Literacy level in Tanzania makes remarkable progress - don

LITERACY in Tanzania has improved significantly since the 1980s, with reading, writing and arithmetic remaining major challenges for children and adults in both rural and urban areas.

Prof. Joe Lugalla

Prof Joe Lugalla, who is Director of Aga Khan University’s Institute for Educational Development (IED), made the revelation yesterday in Dar es Salaam when the institute marked the International Literacy Day under the theme ‘Literacy in a digital world’.

The International Literacy Day is celebrated around the world to highlight literacy and to bring awareness to the importance of closing the literacy gap.  It is celebrated annually worldwide and brings together governments, multi- and bilateral organizations, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, communities, teachers, learners and experts in the field

Prof Lugalla said that just as knowledge skills and competencies evolve in the digital world, so does the importance of being literate. He said in order to close the literacy skills gap and reduce inequalities, this year’s International Literacy Day highlighted the challenges and opportunities in promoting literacy in the digital world.

“Despite progress, at least 750 million adults and 264 million out-of-school children still lack basic literacy skills”, said Prof Lugalla.

Yesterday’s occasion aimed at marking achievements that reflect on ways to counter the main challenges for the promotion of literacy as an integral part of lifelong learning within and beyond the 2030 Education Agenda.

Globally, it looks the kind of literacy skills people need to navigate the increasing digitally-mediated societies, and to explore effective literacy policies and programs that can leverage the opportunities that the digital world provides.

This year, IED conducted a panel discussion with its faculty members on literacy in Tanzania, with a focus on the current state of literacy in the country as well as the institution’s efforts and involvement in improving literacy rates in Tanzania to encompass solutions and idea generation.

A small debate took place with the question whether: “Literacy in a Digital World: Is it driving or is it neglecting?”  Additionally, the IED library hosted a book exchange for IED staff with the aim of promoting new knowledge among members of staff, whilst replacing its old books with new ones.

Since its establishment, IED has actively been involved in the promotion of literacy for social and economic transformation. It is one of the prime centres in East Africa that provides diverse programmes designed for the professional development of educators and educational researchers.

In line with its vision to serve the developing world, IED has tailored its projects to address the literacy obstacles which hinder the progress of society in East Africa. After five years of dedicated involvement in the community, IED has established a presence as advocates for literacy in the region.

With its cutting edge and regionally relevant research and leading academic staff, the institute works to develop and support the professionalization of teachers, educational leaders, managers and others in the field of education in nurturing innovation and improving the quality of education in East Africa.