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Basic Education and Literacy Month – DGs observations for September 2018

This month’s theme recognizes the efforts of Rotary in supporting the fundamental right of every human being to education and literacy. Basic education has been described as “an evolving program of instruction that is intended to provide students with the opportunity to become responsible and respectful global citizens, to contribute to their economic wellbeing and that of their families and communities, to explore and understand different perspectives, and to enjoy productive and satisfying lives”. *

As one of the Six Areas of Focus, Rotarians have used this window to assist needy institutions and communities to supplement state efforts in the provision of education. Rotarians should consider getting involved with the process at all levels by designing service projects in the broad spectrum of this area of focus. When children develop a sense of the future profession, it gives them the psychological balance to focus on how to build on their strengths to get into that profession. I want to encourage clubs to pay special attention to career guidance sessions in our schools.

This type of project requires very little expenditure and draws on the various classifications and professional experiences of the club members giving all Rotarians the opportunity to speak about their classifications or chosen professions to inspire the young ones. One effective way of implementing career guidance programmes will be through Interact and Rotaract clubs which could serve as the focal points for interacting with the students.

In Ghana for instance, the proposed adoption of a ‘double track system’ will leave students out of school for periods that can be profitably converted to social benefit through Rotary’s Youth Service programmes. UNESCO has defined literacy as the “ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute, using printed and written materials associated with varying contexts. Literacy involves a continuum of learning in enabling individuals to achieve their goals, to develop their knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in their community and wider society” As part of the activities for this month, clubs should consider programmes that strengthen the capacity of communities to provide basic education and literacy to all.

For the adults who have not had the benefit of secondary education and beyond, Rotarians may implement projects that would increase adult literacy in communities. Adults would gain functional literacy through professional coaching in the areas of basic book keeping and entrepreneurship to enhance their capabilities in managing their trades. Data available from the United Nations suggests that over 57 million children of primary school age are still out of school and 774 million adults can still not read and write.

It is my hope that the little actions we take in our communities will eventually result in closing the basic education gap.

District Governor 2018-2019
Rotary International District 9102
*Washington State Legislature definition