PHOTO : BRITISH COUNCIL
September 8 is commemorated by the world as International Literacy Day. Since 1967, every year International Literacy Day has been commemorated to remind people of the importance of literacy as a matter of human dignity and rights.
UNESCO notes that there is progress in efforts to eradicate illiteracy. However, currently at least, 773 million adults worldwide still lack basic literacy skills. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republic of Indonesia said that the illiteracy rate at the age of 15-59 years in Indonesia reaches 1.78 percent of the total population. When compared with previous years, this figure continues to decline. Director General of Early Childhood Education –PAUDat the Basic Education and Secondary Education Ministry of Education and Culture, Jumeri said that his side is targeting the achievement of illiteracy by 0 percent by 2023.The Illiteracy must be done, although it has to face challenges. Then what efforts should becarried out and what kind of literacy learning program is effective amid the Covid-19 pandemic? Of course, every country has its own answers and methods. Indonesia has chosen “Literacy Learning in the Covid-19 Pandemic, Momentum for Paradigm Change” as the theme for the commemoration of International Literacy Day 2020. This theme refers to the theme carried out by UNESCO, namely, “Literacy Teaching and Learning in the COVID-19 Crisis and Beyond with a Particular Focus on The Role of Educators and Changing Pedagogies”.
Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, various efforts, innovations and participation must be carried out. If in the period before the pandemic, the introduction of literacy at an early age might be mostly done in Early Childhood Education (PAUD) or kindergartens. However nowadays, it is mostly done in the family. Parents can use any method to introduce characters, including through online broadcasts, of course with tight supervision. Currently, a lot of children actually recognize characters through broadcasts on the internet. Direct community participation in the eradication of illiteracy in their neighborhood must be further enhanced. One of them is through reading gardens. With the support of the government, of course the reading gardens in the community will be able to improve their role. In addition to eradicating illiteracy, and creating individuals who can read, write and count, the provision of the reading gardens is one solution to addressing gaps in the distance learning process. The reading gardens can facilitate environmental, character and social learnings for children. Of course, health protocols should not be ignored.
Based on the awareness that literacy is the right of every human being, illiteracy freedom should be the concern of all stakeholders. The involvement of every individual with any method must be boosted. The government support for community participation in literacy eradication could be further improvedby providing financial assistance, training and facilities to people who actively contribute to efforts to eradicate illiteracy. So, zero percent illiteracy in Indonesia in 2023 can be achieved. In the end, this can improve the welfare of the Indonesian people.