“Cultivating Literacy, Improving Self Quality” is the vision statement of the MaPa Foundation in carrying out its work program. What is meant by LITERACY? why is it important to be cultivated and nurtured from an early age? and why this should be our work together, to prepare the younger generation, the nation’s successor?
In Indonesian terms, LITERATURE is equivalent in meaning to the word LETTER, namely the ability to write and read. In English, literacy means the ability to read and write (the ability to read and write). According to UNESCO, literacy is the ability to identify, understand, interpret, communicate and process (something or things) in written or printed, related to various contexts. Literacy includes a continuous and continuous learning process, which enables an individual to achieve his goals, build his knowledge and potential, and be able to fully participate in his community and society at large (UNESCO, 2004; 2017). According to the Education Development Center (EDC) organization, literacy is more than just the ability to read and write.
Today, literacy education is seen as very important and intensively carried out by education practitioners in order to produce individuals who are not only intelligent in the academic field, but also have a critical and logical mindset. So the main purpose of literacy is not only to emphasize the child’s ability to read or write. This ability is actually only the basis for a broader goal, namely to form a generation that is able to think critically in processing any information that is obtained. Furthermore, in practice, efforts to foster literacy do not only depend on lessons learned at school. But more than that, the role of parents is also very crucial in the development process of their children in the future.
What about the role of the local community? Of course this is also part of our shared responsibility, to instill the importance of literacy. How not, there are still many parents out there who are more concerned with the presence of gadgets, buying credit or buying cigarettes than buying books for their children. In various regions in Indonesia, books are not seen as important. So it could be that parents and children go to the market or go to the mall, but they don’t see bookstores as shopping targets. Most likely many children throughout school age from kindergarten, elementary, junior high school never bought books by their parents. This situation should be highlighted and become a common concern that requires immediate follow-up. In 2019 a survey from the PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) released by the OECD, noted that the reading interest of the Indonesian people is ranked 62 out of 70 countries, or is in the bottom 10 countries. Meanwhile, UNESCO stated that the reading interest of the Indonesian people is only 0.001 percent, meaning that among 1,000 Indonesians, only 1 person likes to read.
One of the causes of the low interest in reading in our society is the lack of access to reading materials, especially in remote areas. Books are also considered expensive, so it is not a priority to have. It is not easy to arouse interest in reading, especially in this day and age where the rush of social media shows makes children seem to forget the existence of books. Very concerned!
Therefore, let’s be excited to sow this literacy, at least with a simple step, namely increasing the access of Indonesian children to quality reading materials, so as to foster their interest in reading. Books are windows to the world and through this instrument we build a quality young generation