You, me and the world are connected by a slender line of communication. International Literacy day is celebrated every year on September 8, to make people aware and encourage them towards literacy.
Communication, in recent times, involves written and oral mode, referring to literacy.
It was 3500 BCE when written communication came into existence. With time when printing began, books reached out to more audiences. Years passed, the term literacy still means the same but its focus has been expansive and multidirectional. Literacy today is considered to be a necessity for social and personal development.
Why do we celebrate International Literacy Day?
Literacy helps to make socially engaged citizens which will benefit the lives of individuals and will profit every nation. To remind the international community of the literacy for individuals, communities and societies, and the essentiality for intensified efforts towards more literate societies, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization in 1966 decided to mark September 8 as International Literacy Day.
Literacy statistics of the World
The report of Unesco’s “Global Monitoring Report on Education for All” 2006 points to South Asia having the lowest regional adult literacy rate at 58.6 per cent.
About 777 million adults lack the minimum education that makes them literate.
Alongside 60.7 million children are out to school or are rare attendees.
In 1820, only 12 percent of the population around the globe could read and write while the situation is much better now with 14 percent of the world population not being able to read or write.
Over the last 65 years, the literacy rate of the world has notably increased by 4 per cent every five years. It was 42 per cent in 1960 and it has been recorded 86 per cent in 2015.
The literacy skills of many countries are more than 95 per cent, which depicts a major modern achievement and some countries are still crawling to climb the stairs of literacy with below 30 per cent.
The growth of literacy is a sign of development in a country and hence it is the fundamental right of a global citizen to acquire education. Literacy is a ladder to climb towards socio-economic development.
It not only allows the individual to expand their knowledge and understanding of the society but is beneficial to improve the nation’s capacity. Literacy must be a way of life, which adds qualitative values into individuals and makes the nation powerful at elementary levels.
It can transform lives and uplifts the standard of health and make their lives better. It can earn us a higher income and guide us problem solving.
Theme of the International Literacy Day, 2020
The United Nations has the theme for this year for the International Literacy Day as “Literacy teaching and learning in Covid-19 crisis and beyond”. This highlights literacy in a lifelong learning perspective and therefore, mainly focuses on youth and adults.
The United Nations said in the trying times of the pandemic, in many countries, adult literacy programmes were absent in the initial education response plans, so most adult literacy programmes that did exist were suspended, with just a few courses continuing virtually through TV and radio, or in open air spaces.
The capacity of literacy is witnessed by the world. This remarkable change in education, has made it one of the basic needs and one of the goals in the Sustainable Development Agenda.
The Sustainable Development Goal 4 has one of its targets, which ensures all young people achieve literacy and numeracy and those adults who lack the skills are given opportunity to acquire them.
The celebration of International Literacy Day 2020 will be through virtual meetings via ZOOM because of the pandemic. The first meeting on “Literacy teaching and learning in the Covid-19 crisis and beyond: the role of educators and changing pedagogies”.
And the second one will be on the Laureates of the Unesco International Literacy Prizes 2020.
The strategy for literacy in youth and adults:
The new five-year Unesco strategy for Youth and Adult Literacy (2020-2025) has four strategic priority areas.
- Developing national literacy policies and strategies
- Addressing the learning needs of disadvantaged groups, particularly women and girls
- Leveraging digital technologies to expand access and improve learning outcomes
- Monitoring progress and accessing literacy skills and programmes
The interruption in education:
Many people from different cultures, nations, groups, classes and categories face interruption in acquiring education in many ways. Either social, economic or something stereotypical pops up in the path of education. With the arrival of Covid-19 this challenge has now grown bigger. With schools closed in many countries and online classes large sections of the students are far away.
Though technology has been a medium to be aid in the process of education and literacy, few groups are outlined. Online education has changed the way to educate the world. With a smartphone and stable internet connection, a child can acquire and a teacher can impart the knowledge.
This has erased the struggle which the students might have faced during this unprecedented lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
But few regions that neither have stable connectivity nor the financial capacity to afford smartphones are in a problem.
This has veiled them from acquiring their fundamental right during these cloudy days.
Many incidents have been in the news how this has been a challenge at a basic level.
Great sayings on Literacy:
“Let us remember: one book, one pen, one child and one teacher can change the world”-Malala Yousufzai
“Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope”- Kofi Annan
“The beautiful thing about learning is that no can take it away from you”-BB King
“’Education is the most powerful weapon for changing the world”-Nelson Mandela
“Literacy is not the end of education or even the beginning”-Mahatma Gandhi