Jakarta. The fourth Asean Literary Festival is taking place at Kota Tua in West Jakarta this week to foster interest in reading and writing in Indonesia.
The festival allows Indonesians to promote culture and literary works, especially in Southeast Asia.
A discussion session themed "Towards the Nation that Reads and Writes" took place at the Fine Arts and Ceramics Museum on Friday (04/08).
"Although Indonesia's literacy rate is pretty high, our interest in reading is still low. According to a study by Central Connecticut State University, Indonesia ranks 60 out of 61 in reading interest – only one level above Botswana," Harris Iskandar, director general of early childhood and community education at the Ministry of Education and Culture, said in a statement on Friday.
Harris said illiteracy is connected to poverty, thus the Education Ministry's national literacy movement, aimed at eradicating illiteracy in villages, should be continually encouraged.
Sovan Ganguly, consumer business unit head at Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), the pulp and paper arm of conglomerate the Sinar Mas Group, supported the movement by participating in the annual event through the company's stationary brand, Sinar Dunia.
"This is a call for our company to take part in the development of literacy in Indonesia. We are here to support government programs to encourage Indonesians to love reading and writing," Sovan said.
Sinar Dunia's role in the development of literacy in Indonesia is by providing quality and fun products, activities related to literacy, as well as organizing forums that will spark interest in reading and writing, especially in the younger generation.
Through the "Ayo Tulis" ("Let's Write") campaign currently being promoted, Sinar Dunia hopes to hone Indonesian children's writing skills through workshops and competitions.
Ilza Mayuni, secretary of the ministry's Language Development and Fostering Agency, said the national literacy movement can only be achieved if there is collaboration between all elements of society.