Category: Articles from other sources

Making information accessible: an essential precondition for effective refugee protection?

This is an article that appeared on the Information Literacy blog. We published this article in December of 2014. Since then, 25000 Syrian refugees are being admitted to Canada, including a few to Charlie Lake and Fort Nelson. Because of this, it seemed appropriate to bring this post back to the top of the blog.

CILIP asked Maurice Wren, Chief Executive at The Refugee Council, to blog about the importance of information literacy to refugees, as it is Human Rights Day today (10 December). He says “Denying refugees the opportunity to transcend their ‘victim’ status, to be their own best advocates, and to rebuild active and engaged lives, is to limit our humanitarian response to their plight to meeting only their most basic physical needs. We must humanise the way we provide refugee protection and one vital way of doing that is to give refugees access to the tools that will enable them to live a full life of the mind.”
Although it may seem churlish, he does only talk about access to online information; I’m not sure that he is talking about information literacy in the fuller sense (e.g. using all kinds of information sources effectively, including people sources; being able to evaluate and create information collaboratively: this are also vital aspects in crisis situations and for empowerment).
There is an interesting link to the “Technology” issue of Forced Migration Review (2011) which has articles about the use and impact of technology, including the impact on access to information.
Wren, M. (2014, 10 December) Making information accessible: an essential precondition for effective refugee protection?
Photo by Sheila Webber: fallen leaves, November 2014

Pre-school Literacy Development

The main focus of most literacy training today has become ESL. There are other valuable areas which also need to be focused on, such as literacy for seniors and adult literacy. Here is an article about a program in the San Joaquin valley that is devoted to developing literacy in children aged six months to five years. It is a collaboration between a literacy society and pediatricians.

The program is implemented during the first five years of life, which offer a critical window for learning with rapid brain development that does not occur at any other time. Many children, especially from low-income families, are not read to from birth. Experts report that children from more affluent households have been exposed to 30 million more words than low-income children, meaning that they arrive at school without basic literacy skills, and often struggle with reading in the early grades.

Reach Out and Read bridges the gap and is a proven intervention backed by 15 independent, published research studies. During the preschool years, children served by the program score three to six months ahead of their non-Reach Out and Read peers on vocabulary tests, preparing them to start school on target. Being ready to begin learning in kindergarten leads to achieving competent reading ability by the end of third grade. Children who don’t read proficiently by the end of third grade fall behind, and many never catch up. In San Joaquin County, according to 2013 statistics, 66 percent, or nearly 7,000 children, left third grade unable to read proficiently. This setback has dire implications for future education and employment opportunities.

(Read full article)

In Memory of a Liberian Literacy Leader

We are all aware that a lot of people are dying in the Ebola outbreak, especially health workers. We need to keep in mind, however, that every victim is important to someone and may even be making a vital contribution to their society. That is the case with Jacob Sandolo, a principle and fierce advocate for literacy in his country. His recent death will have a great impact on Liberian society going forward.

For months, nejacob-sendolo-rtows services around the world have issued reports on the Ebola epidemic that has savaged West Africa. Since March, there have been over 17,000 reported cases of Ebola and more than 6,000 deaths in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. Liberia, the worse-hit country of the Ebola outbreak, with more than 3,000 deaths, has fought this deadly virus with a severely strained public health infrastructure weakened by 23 years of a brutal dictatorship and civil war. Schools have been closed, food is in short supply, and many people are unemployed due to the crisis. News reports have typically spoken of the toll Ebola has taken on healthcare workers—doctors and nurses who have died valiantly in the line of duty, but they have not been the only victims of this deadly virus. In the last week of November, Jacob Sendolo, principal, teacher and long-term officer in the Liberian affiliate of the IRA, also died from Ebola. His death will be felt deeply.

(Read full story)


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