In his opening and welcome remarks, Chief Librarian, Mr. Sallieu Turay, emphasized that this year’s celebration discussed the main attributes of multilingualism in the context of today’s globalized and digitalized world. He stressed that if only the class rooms start teaching in different languages it will encourage people to be confidence and be connected to the world of digitalization despite their different background.
Mr. Turay reiterated that according to the global monitoring report, 800 million people are illiterate in the world and stressed the need to build the literacy skills of people, encourage them to inculcate the habit of reading and promote sustained literacy in today’s shrinking linguistic and cultural differences in the world.
He disclosed that the Sierra Leone Library Board has embarked on conducting French and local language reading sessions for children in the Library, adding to the various projects implemented with the Book Aid International UK, which includes inspiring readers and explorer readers project. He opined that in support of the free quality education they have created strong link between schools and the 23 public libraries in the country.
Mr. Turay ended his statement noting that in a bid to help inculcate the habit of reading, they will share 15,000 selected modern text books to 30 primary and secondary schools which was donated by Books for Africa through the Sierra Leone Book Trust.
In his remarks, the Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Basic Education, Mr. Horatio Nelson Williams emphasised that it is very important to talk about scientific and technological literacy in the fast growing technological and digitalized world rather than sticking to reading, writing and arithmetic to measure illiteracy rate in the world. He said that if people embark on improving their reading skills in different languages especially in English, French and Chinese it will be good for the nation.
He disclosed that the Ministry of Basic Education will soon embark on encouraging all lower primary school to teach kids in the language which is dominant in the community and encourages the Sierra Leone Library Board to concentrate on Basic Knowledge of Science and Technology books as this will make the country a knowledgeable society.
He stressed that with this we will be a global community and compete as an industrial nation. He encourages primary schools to have libraries and embark in organizing reading sessions for both the teachers and the kids to inculcate the habit of reading and called on youths to continue building their reading skills rather than spending time in something that is not meaningful.
In his remarks, the education officer, Rev. J. C. Cooper said there is the need to promote literacy in the country as this will help us create more dynamic societies, prosperous economies and meaningful lives. He commended the Sierra Leone Library Board for their relentless strive to improve literacy in the country and urged them to start the discussion in formulating policies for making literacy and multilingualism more effective.
The program was climaxed with reading and poem competition in local languages and distributions of books donated by Books of Africa through the Sierra Leone Book Trust.