Thursday, September 15, 2011

Work by every government agency must be literacy proofed

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD has called for every government agency involved in education to ensure that they literacy proof every aspect of their work. The Dublin North Central TD and former Inner-City school principal stressed that it is imperative we put literacy at the heart of our education system and not just confine it to the classroom.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin states: “It is vital that we solidify literacy at the core of our education sector and our society in general. This involves all government and state agencies having a strong literacy strategy or policy statement that they can follow when dealing with students, parents, guardians and indeed the wider community.

“Working closely with Ruairi Quinn it is clear that he is a passionate advocate for the tackling of illiteracy and the empowerment potential of the basic ability to read. This must be a national cause, and not one purely restricted to the classroom.”

“We must realise that children don’t live in their schools and that those who were once failed by the education system need to be empowered in more imaginative ways. Therefore, it is crucial that we make sure all interactions between educators, students, parents or guardians is literacy proofed. I know from my own experience that many families from disadvantaged areas have real difficulties with literacy and thus we cannot allow the learning to stop when the school home-bell rings.

“For example, there are five basic policy documents that every school must have – an adult literacy strategy not being one of them. If we were to demand that all schools implement a literacy strategy for their parent body in a respectful and empowering manner then surely we would go a long way to tackling some of the difficulties with literacy that dog far too many of our fellow citizens .”

“For example, any state training agency must build a comprehensive literacy programme for their students and participants. Literacy is a basic foundation stone for full engagement in society and must be at the core of the equality agenda of any modern Republic. The same must be said for our VEC structure, who provide essential courses for students looking to up-skill.

“By integrating a literacy strategy into these institutions, building upon the newly launched national strategy ‘Literacy and Numeracy for Learning and Life’, we can really strengthen our literacy levels across the board.”