La Voz de Galicia – September 7, 2018 →

Cristina PatoIt is difficult for her to ask, but if she has to write a postcard, my mother always checks with her daughters to ensure she has no misspellings: it’s a matter of dignity. My father asked in a more straightforward manner, and his doubts always revolved around the use of the “h,” the “j,” and the “g.” I always thought my parents’ relationship with education peculiar: a woman in a family of women in a deeply rural setting likely had a completely different education from a man in a village holding an itinerant profession. The truth is that I was never quite clear how much time my parents were able to go to school since both came from the country and both immigrated when young, but the wish to know and know well, was something they taught us with zeal since my sisters and I were quite young. Theirs was a wish to survive and understand the tools their children might need for survival as well.

It’s been fifty-two years since UNESCO declared tomorrow, September 8, International Literacy Day. With the purpose of reminding the public about “the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights,” each year the organization selects a theme to guide the conversation towards their objectives. The theme in 2018 is “literacy and the development of skills,” and I thought about the skills of those who, like those in my country, were born in years of famine. Studies by Professor Narciso de Gabriel at the University of A Coruña, help us understand the factors that had an impact on literacy in Galicia. But if we stop to think about the relationship between the level of literacy in today’s Galicia and the level of employment, then questions arise about what the skills would be that would be necessary to survive in today’s world…

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