International Literacy Day

International Literacy Day

Basic Information

International Literacy Day is an annual event observed on 8 September to raise peoples awareness about importance of literacy and issues related to literacy around the world.

Observed on: 8 September

Organized by: UN

Introduced in: 1965 (UNESCO Proclamation), 1966 (First International Literacy Day)

Observed: Worldwide

About International Literacy Day

On November 17, 1965 UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) proclaimed September 8 as International Literacy Day and it was first celebrated in 1966.

Aim of the celebration is to highlight the importance of literacy of individuals, communities and societies. This observance is much important as millions of people around the world lack minimum literacy skills.

Literacy is a human right and helps in better well-being and livelihood, sustainable and inclusive development. It helps in shaping culture, history, language, religion and socio-economic conditions and eradicating poverty. Literacy also plays a big role in reducing child morality, curbing population growth, achieving gender equality, achieving peace and democracy.

Activities and Programs on Literacy Day

Celebrations take place around the world on this day to highlight the importance of literacy.

UNESCO reminds the international community of the status of literacy and adult learning globally with its reports. The report shows that there is a clear connection between illiteracy and countries severe poverty, and between illiteracy and prejudice against women.

Awards and prices are given to organizations, individuals who work in the field of literacy especially adult literacy.

Many writers, companies, charity organizations etc. are supporting and contributing their part for the fight against illiteracy.

UN General Assembly proclaimed 2003 – 2012 as United Nations Literacy Decade in which UNESCO and many other organizations conducted number of programs to highlight the importance of literacy.

To literate adults, community based adult learning programmes are organized in various places.

Theme for International Literacy Day

Specific themes based on the goal Education For All were there on every year celebrations. Themes for different Years are as follows:

International Literacy Day 2020 Theme is “Literacy teaching and learning in the COVID-19 crisis and beyond,” especially on the role of educators and changing pedagogies.

International Literacy Day 2019 Theme was “Literacy and Multilingualism

Literacy Day 2018 Theme was “Literacy and Skills Development

2017 Theme: Literacy in a digital world

2016 Theme: Reading the Past, Writing the Future

2015 Theme: Literacy and Sustainable Societies

2014 Theme: Literacy and Sustainable Development

2013 Theme: Literacies for the 21st Century

2011 – 2012 Theme: Literacy and Peace

2009 – 2010 Theme: Literacy and Empowerment

2007 – 2008 Theme: Literacy and Health

Click here for List of Important Days or UN Observations

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