Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi officially opened the 2015 National Literacy Week today in front of the Government building at Matagialalua.
The ceremony was attended by school children, teachers and parents from across Samoa.
In his keynote address, Tuilaepa urged all Samoans to prioritise reading to young children.
“Today I urge each and every one of you – mothers, fathers, teachers, members of parliament, leaders, business owners including those who are at home, everyone – please read to your children,” he said.
“Literacy is a fundamental human right. A requirement for achieving our objectives and goals, to encourage competitiveness, healthy living, sustainable lifestyles, social inclusion and especially constructive citizenship.
“Literacy is about empowerment and achievement of individuals, communities and societies. As the theme of the national literacy week reminds us, reading paves the way to success,” said the Prime Minister.
Tuilaepa also noted that adaptability is important to ensure communities thrive and continue to develop positively for future generations.
“That’s what we want to achieve. Otherwise we will just be another dot on a map.”
The Prime Minister emphasised the importance of helping young children to read.
“If you want your children to succeed in life and have a bright future, make sure reading is practiced daily in your homes.
“To principals and teachers, I also urge you to take reading seriously in your classrooms. Reading opens doors to opportunities for children in your care. Do not deprive them of a good future. Work hard and strive to improve literacy levels in your schools.”
The Prime Minister called for an improvement in national literacy levels for all schools.
The event was blessed with a short prayer service by Pastor Dr. Faafetai Fata.
The week-long program includes impromptu writing competitions; read-aloud competitions in English and Samoan; interviews of book characters; wall collages and banner display competitions; a literacy promotion day at MESC headquarters at Malifa; a book fair at SSAB Megastore; entertainment by the National Orchestra and string band and promotion presentations by major sponsors.
The opening ceremony included a march along Beach Road in Apia, where students marched in their respective zones or districts. Throughout the week they will compete in various activities.
This is the second year this national event has been celebrated and the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture in partnership with Samoa Stationery and Books aims to instil a nation-wide focus on reading as a daily practice not only in schools but also within every home.
The theme of this year’s Literacy Week is Read to Succeed. At the zone competitions, which took place from 6-10 July 2015, students in both primary and secondary levels promoted this theme in the categories they competed in.
The winners (listed below) will compete again this week and in addition, there will also be other activities for students to observe, support and participate in for fun such as face painting, reading books through information technology, drama, dancing and much more.
One of the highlights this week is the Fagogo Night on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, where young children will listen to stories being told as in days past when the ‘fagogo’ was the key form of entertainment in our homes.
Parents and guardians are encouraged to bring their children to be part of this week’s activities.