The International Literacy Day is celebrated on 8th September every year throughout the world. On this day, in the year 1965 the World Congress of Ministers of Education met in Tehran for the first time to discuss the programme of education at the international level. The UNESCO in its 14th Session in November, 1966, declared 8th September as the International Literacy Day. Since then, ILD is celebrated on 8th September every year by most of the member countries.
The key aspect of the observance of ILD is to mobilize public opinion in favour of struggle against illiteracy. ILD is a forum to disseminate information on literacy and raise the public awareness and the significance of literacy for individual and national development. It is an occasion to mark achievements and reflect on ways to counter remaining challenges for the promotion of literacy as an integral part of lifelong learning within and beyond the 2030 Education Agenda.
The overarching theme of ILD 2020 is "Literacy teaching and learning in the COVID-19 crisis and beyond".
International Literacy Day (ILD) 2020 focuses on Literacy teaching and learning in the COVID-19 crisis and beyond with a focus on the role of educators and changing pedagogies. The theme will highlight literacy learning in a lifelong learning perspective and therefore mainly focus on youth and adults.
The world has made steady progress in literacy in the past decades. Yet globally, 773 million adults and young people lack basic literacy skills 1, and more than 617 million children and adolescents are not achieving minimum proficiency levels in reading and mathematics. The current COVID-19 crisis has been a magnifier of existing literacy challenges, deeply affecting schooling and lifelong learning opportunities including for youth and adults with no or low literacy skills.
During the initial phase of the pandemic, schools were closed down in more than 190 countries, disrupting the education of 62.3 per cent of the world’s student population of 1.09 billion in 123 countries. The COVID- 19 pandemic also affected around 63 million primary and secondary teachers in 165 countries. Governments have been rapidly deploying distance learning solutions on an unprecedented scale, particularly in formal education for children and young people. A range of solutions, such as virtual lessons, dissemination of materials, and learning provision through TV, radio or in open air spaces, have been adopted.
The recent Covid-19 crisis has been a stark reminder of the existing gap between policy discourse and reality: a gap that already existed in the pre-Covid-19 era and is negatively affecting the learning of youth and adults who have no or low literacy skills and therefore tend to face multiple disadvantages. During Covid-19, in many countries, adult literacy programmes were absent in the initial education response plans, so the majority of adult literacy programmes that did exist were suspended with just a few courses continuing virtually, through TV and radio, or in open air spaces. What is the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on youth and adult literacy educators and teaching and learning? What are the lessons learnt? How can we effectively position youth and adult literacy learning in global and national responses and in strategies for the recovery and resilience-building phase?
By exploring these questions, International Literacy Day 2020 will provide an opportunity to reflect on and discuss how innovative and effective pedagogies and teaching methodologies can be used in youth and adult literacy programmes to face the pandemic and beyond. The Day will also give an opportunity to analyse the role of educators, as well as effective policies, systems, governance and measures that can support educators and learning.
Source : UNESCO