Tag: illiteracy

Our education!

Our education! Featured

Underdevelopment is, among other things, lack of learning and lack of the possibility to learn. It is not only how many cannot read and write. It is also how many cannot read or write, or pass on to higher levels of education, due to the lack of teachers, schools and the minimum conditions beyond those most elementary for subsistence. That is why our dramatic educational and cultural problems cannot be isolated from our overall socio-economic situation.

A characteristic of illiteracy is that it is greater in our rural than in urban areas, and among women than among men.

It is not by chance, however, that the geographic and social distribution of illiteracy is almost the same as that of poverty. Illiterates are, as a rule, also the poorest, the most poorly fed, the least healthy, the most disadvantaged and exploited. The illiteracy figures reveal the frustrated development of human capacities and potential; the limitations on the individual as a human being and as part of a community; exploitation and ignorance as to a better future; the dramatic social effects of underdevelopment; loss of national identity; social and economic backwardness.

Many of our children today lack schools or the means and possibilities to attend school.
The rational behind this reality and its cause is the situation of poverty that forces them to drop out of school, the distances that have to be covered to get to school and the deplorable material conditions of many of the schools.

Another factor to be borne in mind is the insufficient training of teaching staff and the lack of ways and means to remedy this insufficiency, which has its effect on the limited and poor quality teaching provided. To add to an already gloomy situation, there is the number of university graduates that are lost every year due to the brain drain of the major capitalist powers.

It is imperative to stress another aspect that hampers our efforts in the pursuit of education and cultural development. Imperialist mass media are continuously, sometimes subtly and sometimes openly, carrying out a process of ideological and cultural penetration aimed at eroding our cultural identities, creating habits and patterns of conduct foreign to the needs of our people, belittling and deforming our people’s cultures in their own eyes. This, of course, has no bearing on the flow of ideas or on the legitimate exchange of the products of their cultures among peoples. These very mass media are working to create a consumerist image devoid of all rationality and are trying to impose mesmerising illusions on our people as absolute truths. An enormous percentage of the television programmes broadcast today in our country come from developed capitalist countries.

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party

April 8, 2021

Let’s revamp our reading culture! – SP Women’s League

Let’s revamp our reading culture! – SP Women’s League

16 April is an annually celebrated International Special Librarians Day. The commemorations aim to honor library workers, librarians, or to make donations of various forms. Importantly, this day is a reminder of the role of libraries and librarians in promoting the quality of education worldwide.

Reflecting on the role of libraries and celebrating librarians is key to our Zambian context. Today, we struggle with staggering literacy levels of about 55.3 percent, with illiteracy that is much more prevalent among females than males. In order to combat the high illiteracy rates, it is vital that we revive our community libraries, promote a culture of reading, and make reading materials available, and accessible to all.

In the past, Zambia’s major cities hosted vibrant community libraries that provided space to assist people find information and reading materials they needed to learn, space to study, work, or for recreational purposes. These libraries contributed to promoting access to information, reading materials and in inculcating a culture of reading. In the bigger scheme of things, community libraries added value to the quality and development of our education system. Today, our education system and quality of schools are much compromised with a growing gap between urban and rural areas.

Globally, while libraries have evolved, what has happened in Zambia is that either our community libraries have closed down or operate under poorly equipped conditions that disadvantage them to cope and to remain relevant in the fast changing times. While a privileged few have access, most government schools lack access to reading materials or there exists very few libraries in these schools.

Today, we are faced with an unprecedented global health COVID-19 pandemic characterised by prolonged lockdowns and deepening crises. These growing challenges are a reminder that it is in our best interest that we revisit the concept of community libraries and how we can make them more relevant in providing digitalised facilities to aid home schooling, access to reading and learning materials, and information for free and for all. While it is important to maintain elements of our traditional libraries, it is vital that we shift to digital libraries that can be accessed by all Zambians.

All Zambians are equal. Improving Zambia’s quality of education is one of the critical issues that the Socialist Party (SP) is passionate about today and tomorrow. Through the Fred M’membe literacy programme, the SP has reached out to many men and women in both urban and rural areas to promote a culture of learning, reading and writing.

We invite you to think big and join us to realise a Zambia that embraces Justice, Equity and Peace for ALL. Ours is a vision by the humble Zambians for the humble Zambians.