SUMMARY / RELATED TOPICS

Literacy

Literacy is popularly understood as an ability to read and use numeracy in at least one method of writing, an understanding reflected by mainstream dictionary and handbook definitions. Starting in the 1980s, literacy researchers have maintained that defining literacy as an ability apart from any actual event of reading and writing ignores the complex ways reading and writing always happens in a specific context and in tandem with the values associated with that context; the view that literacy always involves social and cultural elements is reflected in UNESCO's stipulation that literacy is an "ability to identify, interpret, create and compute, using printed and written materials associated with varying contexts." Modern attention to literacy as a "context-dependent assemblage of social practices" reflects the understanding that individuals' reading and writing practices develop and change over the lifespan as their cultural and historical contexts change. For example, in Scotland, literacy has been defined as: "The ability to read and use numeracy, to handle information, to express ideas and opinions, to make decisions and solve problems, as family members, workers and lifelong learners."Such expanded definitions have altered long-standing "rule of thumb" measures of literacy, e.g. the ability to read the newspaper, in part because the increasing involvement of computers and other digital technologies in communication necessitates additional skills.

By extension, the expansion of these necessary skill-sets became known, variously, as computer literacy, information literacy, technological literacy. Elsewhere definitions of literacy extend the original notion of "acquired ability" into concepts like "arts literacy," visual literacy, statistical literacy, critical literacy, media literacy, ecological literacy and health literacy. Literacy emerged with the development of numeracy and computational devices as early as 8000 BCE. Script developed independently at least five times in human history Mesopotamia, the Indus civilization, lowland Mesoamerica, China; the earliest forms of written communication originated in Sumer, located in southern Mesopotamia about 3500-3000 BCE. During this era, literacy was "a functional matter, propelled by the need to manage the new quantities of information and the new type of governance created by trade and large scale production". Writing systems in Mesopotamia first emerged from a recording system in which people used impressed token markings to manage trade and agricultural production.

The token system served as a precursor to early cuneiform writing once people began recording information on clay tablets. Proto-cuneiform texts exhibit not only numerical signs, but ideograms depicting objects being counted. Egyptian hieroglyphs emerged from 3300-3100 BCE and depicted royal iconography that emphasized power amongst other elites; the Egyptian hieroglyphic writing system was the first notation system to have phonetic values. Writing in lowland Mesoamerica was first put into practice by the Olmec and Zapotec civilizations in 900-400 BCE; these civilizations used glyphic writing and bar-and-dot numerical notation systems for purposes related to royal iconography and calendar systems. The earliest written notations in China date back to the Shang Dynasty in 1200 BCE; these systematic notations were found inscribed on bones and recorded sacrifices made, tributes received, animals hunted, which were activities of the elite. These oracle-bone inscriptions were the early ancestors of modern Chinese script and contained logosyllabic script and numerals.

Indus script is pictorial and has not been deciphered yet. It may not include abstract signs, it is thought that the script is thought to be logographic. Because it has not been deciphered, linguists disagree on whether it is a complete and independent writing system; these examples indicate that early acts of literacy were tied to power and chiefly used for management practices, less than 1% of the population was literate, as it was confined to a small ruling elite. According to social anthropologist Jack Goody, there are two interpretations that regard the origin of the alphabet. Many classical scholars, such as historian Ignace Gelb, credit the Ancient Greeks for creating the first alphabetic system that used distinctive signs for consonants and vowels, but Goody contests, "The importance of Greek culture of the subsequent history of Western Europe has led to an over-emphasis, by classicists and others, on the addition of specific vowel signs to the set of consonantal ones, developed earlier in Western Asia".

Thus, many scholars argue that the ancient Semitic-speaking peoples of northern Canaan invented the consonantal alphabet as early as 1500 BCE. Much of this theory's development is credited to English archeologist Flinders Petrie, who, in 1905, came across a series of Canaanite inscriptions located in the turquoise mines of Serabit el-Khadem. Ten years English Egyptologist Alan Gardiner reasoned that these letters contain an alphabet, as well as references to the Canaanite goddess Asherah. In 1948, William F. Albright deciphered the text using additional evidence, discovered subsequent to Goody's findings; this included a series of inscriptions from Ugarit, discovered in 1929 by French archaeologist Claude F. A. Schaeffer; some of these i

Thyolo

Thyolo is a town located in the Southern Region of Malawi. It is the administrative capital of Thyolo District. Traditional Authority Mphuka in Thyolo District is one of the 10 Traditional Authorities in Thyolo District in Malawi. There are a number of non sustainable activities that communities in the area do that are detrimental to development. Malawi being an agricultural based economy production is dependent on natural resources whose availability and stability cannot be guaranteed in the area. Livelihoods are affected by non sustainable practices such as wanton cutting down of trees, shifting cultivation, poor agricultural practices; the drivers of deforestation and soil erosion are interrelated with growing human population, increased demand of firewood and limited job opportunities being the main ones. The State of Environment Report of 2000 for the district identified five pressing environmental issues for the district and these included: overpopulation, encroachment in water catchment areas, poor public place sanitation, declining fish catch from natural water bodies and loss of biodiversity.

One other thing that has exacerbated the social economic status of the people in this district is the introduction of tea estates a long time ago which took all cultivatable land away from the inhabitants leaving them only with casual labouring in the estates as an alternative for survival. The estates do little, if not nothing, for the lives of these vulnerable people. Thyolo District is located in southern region of Malawi on the Shire highlands, it borders Mulanje to the east, Blantyre to north, Nsanje to the south. Thyolo receives an average total rainfall of 1,125 mm per year; the terrain in Thyolo District is transverse. The climate is dry and with savanna type of vegetation; the area terrain is sloppy surrounded by mountains and rivers/streams. The soil is roam clay and some parts are rocky. TA Mphuka is about 40 kilometres from Thyolo District Council; the road network is good but the quality of the roads is poor. This is compounded by the undulating nature of the plain, characterised by steep descents and the rocky formation of the road surface.

There are 39 villages in TA Mphuka. These villages fall under 5 Group Village Headmen known as Village Development Committees and 1 sub VDC. Average household size is 4.2. There is an approximate total population of 63,710 in 15,071 households in scattered nuclear settlements; the majority of the people are Amang’anja and Alomwe tribes. Severe and widespread environmental degradation is taking place in surrounding areas; the main root cause of environmental degradation in the area is poverty coupled with dwindling crop production due to scarcity of land for agricultural activities. This problem has forced the local communities to encroach the forest reserve and cultivate in the buffer zone of the rivers and streams; the deforestation has resulted to siltation on the rivers hence reducing the quantity of water in the rivers. The quarterly flows measures being undertaken by Ministry of Irrigation and Water Development in conjunction with Thyolo District Council through District Coordination Team quarterly flow measure report of October to December 2010 revealed that flows are declining.

The depletion of natural resources at Mphuka is causing a series of problems. There are cultivations in the river banks which are detrimental to biodiversity; the practice accelerates siltation and the rivers will dry up. It is feared that if pragmatic measures are not put in place to address this problem, it can become worse; the major causes of this environmental degradation include poverty and high population growth. Some of the notable environmental problems in Mphuka include: River siltation/sedimentation. Drying up of perennial rivers. Soil erosion up to 37% annually. Reduced water levels in the rivers. Rampant deforestation along the river banks. Lack of respect for the Forest Reserve boundary at Dzimbiri Headquarters and surrounding villages Reduction in wild animal population. Loss of vegetation cover and creation of bare hills. Climate change among others. In addition and agricultural expansion taking place in Mphuka due to population growth has lowered the water table of the entire Mphuka Area.

Besides poverty and low crop production, it appears that general lack of environmental education and communication has compounded the spread of environmental degradation. It was envisaged that many people think that nature takes care of itself hence no need for local communities to conserve environment, it is therefore believed that local communities' needs, assets and aspirations are taken into account, there is need to promote and yield substantial and long lasting solutions to nature conservation in the area for the benefit of the present and future generations. Bell and Morse. Measuring sustainability: Learning from doing. London: Earthscan Honadle, G. and VanSant, J.. Implementation of sustainability. Lessons from integrated rural development. West Hartford: Kumarian Press Official Website for the Government of the Republic of Malawi. Districts of Malawi www.malawi.gov.mw National Statistical Office Population and Housing Report www.unstats.un.org/org/unsd/demographic/sources/census/2010

Armin Luistro

Brother Armin Altamirano Luistro, FSC born December 24, 1961 in Lipa, Philippines) is a Filipino Lasallian Brother who served as secretary of the Department of Education of the Philippines under President Benigno Aquino III. Luistro entered De La Salle Scholasticate in Manila on April 1979 while he was studying in De La Salle University, he received the religious habit of the congregation on October 1981 at the La Salle Novitiate in Lipa. He professed his first religious vows on October 1982, his final vows on May 1988, he started teaching as a religion teacher at De La Salle Lipa in 1983. He was made provincial of the De La Salle Brothers Philippine District on April 1997, a post he held until 2003. On August 26, 2000, Luistro co-founded the De La Salle Catholic University Manado, in Indonesia with Josef Suwatan, Roman Catholic Bishop of Manado. On April 2004, he succeeded Andrew Gonzalez as the president of De La Salle University System making him the president of eight De La Salle institutions.

He worked into establishing De La Salle Philippines. The DLSP National Mission Council appointed him DLSP President and Chief Executive Officer on November 29, 2005, he was appointed as the Secretary of Education of the Philippines on June 30, 2010, becoming the second De La Salle brother to hold the post—the other was Gonzalez, in office from 1998 to 2001. Luistro has the least net worth among Aquino's cabinet, he had ₱89,000. In contrast, the richest—Cesar Purisima, Secretary of Finance—had ₱252 million; the Alliance of Concerned Teachers have expressed skepticism over Luistro's stand on sex education citing his religious background. The Department of Education has included sex education in its curriculum for grade 5 to fourth year high school. Roman Catholic groups have criticized it for not covering the emotional and spiritual dimensions of sexuality. Luistro is a major proponent of the K+12 Basic Education Program in the Philippines; the program seeks to add two years to the current 10-year basic education curriculum.

Numerous parties have opposed the plan including Ateneo de Manila University President Bienvenido Nebres and progressive groups of students and parents. Luistro was born on December 24, 1961, to José Dimayuga Luistro and Magdalena Aranda Altamirano-Luistro in Lipa, Philippines, he attended first grade at Our Lady of the Rosary Academy in Lipa, grades 2 to 5 at Canossa Academy Lipa, graduated elementary and high school at De La Salle Lipa. He pursued his undergraduate studies at De La Salle University in Manila under a scholarship, was conferred Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Letters on March 1981; when asked in a Manila Bulletin interview in 2009, he shared that he had spent most of his education in Batangas, since DLSU had no uniforms, he "wore all the badúy type of shirts", as he put it, using the Tagalog word for "unfashionable", while most of his classmates were from elite high schools. Thus he says "I supposed laughed at me."In 1981 he entered into a program in Ateneo de Manila University, was awarded a Certificate in Formation Institute for Religious Educators in 1985.

He enrolled in a graduate program in DLSU in 1991, was conferred a Master of Arts degree in Religious Education in 1993. He graduated with a master's degree in religious education and values formation at the same university in 2003, he was conferred a doctorate degree in educational management on May 2005 from the University of St. La Salle in Bacolod, he was made Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, by La Salle University in Philadelphia, United States on May 9, 2004. Luistro entered the De La Salle Scholasticate in Manila on April 1979, received the religious habit on October 1981 at the La Salle Novitiate in Lipa, he professed his first religious vows on October 1982, his final vows on May 1988. In the Manila Bulletin interview, he said that teaching was the reason why he entered the congregation, he started teaching as a religion teacher at De La Salle Lipa in 1983. He moved to La Salle Greenhills in 1986, he was made provincial of the De La Salle Brothers Philippine District on April 1997, a post he held until 2003.

On August 26, 2000, Luistro co-founded the De La Salle Catholic University of Manado known as De La Salle University, in Indonesia with Josef Suwatan, Roman Catholic Bishop of Manado. DLSU in Manila supervised initial operations. On April 2004, he succeeded Andrew Gonzalez as the president of De La Salle University System making him the president of eight De La Salle institutions. In his inaugural speech, he acknowledged the "multiversity" concept of Gonzalez who established the system. In which structure, DLSU served as the flagship while other De La Salle institutions specialized in fields like agriculture, alternative education and medicine, he did, find the system's structure unfeasible. He worked into establishing De La Salle Philippines. Under the reorganization, other De La Salle institutions were included in the network—a total of 17; each De La Salle institution had its own president. The DLSP National Mission Council appointed him DLSP President and Chief Executive Officer on November 29, 2005.

Luistro called for the resignation of then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo during the height of the Hello Garci scandal in 2005. In which time, he became close to the Aquino family, a prominent political family in the Philippines, he delivered a eulogy during the