Leandrea Louw:

Around 98% of Walvis Bay's residents are literate, according to Ms Eivy Alupe, the District Adult Education Officer.

Ms Alupe motivated people at the Adult learners' literacy week, which was celebrated at the Kuisebmond Community Centre on Saturday, to “study hard and put education first.”

Many personal success stories were heard throughout the day: one lady shared her story of becoming literate in Afrikaans. “I couldn't speak, read or write Afrikaans, but ever since I started with these classes I can read warning signs and I understand and can communicate with whoever speaks to me in Afrikaans. It has really been empowering,” she gushed excitedly.

The national theme for the literacy week celebration is “Literacy for enlarging livelihood opportunities in Namibia”. The day was celebrated with various cultural performances, poetry readings in English, Afrikaans and Oshikwanyama; songs were also performed by the adult learners' literacy group and the learners read a number of Afrikaans and English stories.

Ms Victoria Elikana, a representative for Councillor Ndemula of the Erongo Regional Council, Walvis Bay Urban Constituency said: “I want to make it clear to our adult learners that as they continue to enjoy all privileges from dif-ferent stakeholders towards adult literacy development, it is impe-rative that they take it personally and use this opportunity to realise all their potential dreams. It won't help to keep on consuming alcohol very day and fight each other, she said. “Please let us learn and let us develop ourselves.”

It has been reported that a total of 491 family literacy centres have been established at rural schools across Namibia to assist parents and caregivers of Grade 1 learners. According to the 2011 Population and Housing Census, the national literacy rate stands at 89%, with male literacy at 89% and female literacy at 88.5%.

For interest sake the Adult Basic Education Programme is divided into three stages, each stage lasting about one year. Numeracy skills are taught throughout the three stages. A learner may repeat a stage only once.

Stage one is open to beginners and materials are designed to intro-duce learners to the basic syllables of their own mother tongue. Learning how to write properly is an important activity of this stage.

Stage Two, which is also conducted in the learners' mother tongue, caters for intermediate learners, the majority of whom will have successfully completed Stage One, as well as those who dropped out of school, or those who have acquired some reading and writing skills on their own.

In Stage Three the learners are introduced to Basic English. The emphasis is on communicative English and reinforcing developmental activities.

Walvis Bay has 5 diffe-rent literacy centres, located at the Kuisebmond Community Centre, !Nara Primary School, Kuisebmond Secondary School, Duinesig Combined School and the Michelle Training Centre, also in Kuisebmond.

Education Minister David Namwandi also announced that Namibia is in line to receive the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation's (UNESCO) Confucius Prize for its national literacy programme.

The prize consists of a silver medal, diploma and cheque of US$20 000.

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