International Literacy Day 2020: Why We Celebrate It Every year


September 8 is celebrated as the International Literacy Day after being declared by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The main aim of the day is to encourage awareness and remind people of the world the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights.

It was first observed at the 1966 UNESCO’S General conference that how much literacy is important to humankind. It was stated, “The hundreds of millions of illiterate adults still existing in the world, memphasizedential to change national education policies,” wrote The Indian Express.

After the UNESCO’S General conference, it was September 8, 1967, when International Literacy Day was celebrated on September 8, 1967, for the first time.

Despite all the campaign and awareness programs about literacy, there are at least 773 million adults worldwide who lack basic literacy skills today, according to UNESCO.

Meanwhile, this year, the coronavirus pandemic has affected education a lot. Hence, the Literacy Day should focus on the changes and challenges in learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, adult literacy programs that did exist were suspended in many countries.

The literacy day will reflect on the innovative program pedagogies that can be used in youth and adult literacy programs to face the pandemic situations and more.

Qian Tang, Education Assistant Director-General, UNESCO told The Indian Express that the global community is focusing on 2030 with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and has aimed to “ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning” within its goals.

After a 50-year review of South Asia, countries like Bangladesh, India, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Nepal and Pakistan are found to have large-scale illiteracy among youth/adults.

Talking about India, a total of 74.04 per cent are literate, which is, however, an increase of 9.2 per cent from the last decade 2001-11, according to the census. If UNESCO is to be believed, it will require another 50 years for India to achieve universal literacy.

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