International Literacy Day is observed every year on September 8 to highlight the importance of literacy and to throw light on issues that exist and affect local communities around us.

When did Literacy Day come into existence?

September 8 was proclaimed as International Literacy Day (ILD) by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) in 1966.

Why is International Literacy Day observed?

International Literacy Day is observed across the world to remind people about the importance of literacy for the betterment of communities, societies, and individuals, and also to highlight the positive effects of a higher literacy rate.

Unesco website explains it is celebrated “annually around the world to remind the public of the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights, and to advance the literacy agenda towards a more literate and sustainable society. Despite progress made, literacy challenges persist with 771 million illiterate people around the world, most of whom are women, who still lack basic reading and writing skills and are faced with increased vulnerability”.

Stakeholders also believe through literacy, one can not only slowly eradicate poverty, unemployment and gender inequality, but can also help promote human rights in areas and societies that have been suffering due to a lack of knowledge of their rights.

What is the theme for this year?

The theme for International Literacy Day this year is “Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces” and its focus will be urging people to rethink the fundamental importance of literacy learning spaces to build resilience and ensure quality, equitable, and inclusive education for all individuals around the globe.

“This year, Unesco and all the other stakeholders are focusing more on the changing definition of ‘rapid changes’ in the context of the coronavirus pandemic that brought the whole world to a standstill in 2020 and affected hundreds of millions of lives around the globe. “In the aftermath of the pandemic, nearly 24 million learners might never return to formal education, out of which, 11 million are projected to be girls and young women,” data from Unesco shows.”

So, educators, experts, policy-makers, and other stakeholders will come together this year to talk and find solutions pertaining to bringing back children and others to school and enhancing the learning atmosphere around the globe with the help of technology, especially keeping in mind deadly situations such as pandemic and wars.

How is International Literacy Day celebrated?

On this day, educators, policymakers, government officials, experts and other stakeholders organise meetings, workshops, discussion panels, and more around the globe. During these events, stakeholders discuss and identify the existing problems and then try to find solutions to these issues by discussing several options.

What can children do to mark International Literacy Day?

Students can attend such discussions to hear about the persisting issues and the possible solutions. They can even add to the discussion if at any point they believe they might have a different point of view or a solution.

Other than that, students can donate books to public libraries, donation centres, adoption centres or other such places where other children can also read those books and enhance their knowledge of the world.

Children can also organise their own discussion and debate sessions with their friends and talk about the issues that they face and possible solutions to them. Small essay-writing competitions and such can also be organised to encourage literacy.

Courtesy : Deeksha Teri

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