What is International Literacy Day?
Since 1967, International Literacy Day (ILD) has taken place annually on September 8th worldwide. The main objective is to remind individuals of the literacy problems that still exist within our communities. Founded by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), ILD has paved the way to raise awareness of the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights.
Despite literacy rates increasing by 4 percent every 5 years, illiteracy still remains an ongoing problem. There are more than 750 million adults who cannot read. In 1965, the World Conference of Ministers of Education on the Eradication of Illiteracy held a meeting which aimed to recognize and support ILD. They wished to incentivize reading and unify one’s community by teaching people the basics of reading and writing. In addition, the goal was to begin to encourage people to go to a library, attend or co-ordinate a literacy support program or even host book readings to encourage and help those who are struggling with literacy.
International Literacy Day serves as an opportunity to promote literacy for all individuals and in doing so, build self-confidence, as well as eradicate poverty and gender inequality. The hope is to bring international awareness of the large number of individuals worldwide who still lack basic literacy skills. Lacking these basic skills hinders access to education, employment and social inclusion. It is very important to recognize that literacy is a fundamental human right and a pathway toward personal and societal development.
International Literacy Day serves as a global call to action, urging governments, organizations, communities and individuals to prioritize literacy education, create an inclusive learning environment and work towards achieving universal literacy for all.