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 2021 is "Literacy for a human-centred recovery: Narrowing the digital divide".
International Literacy Day (ILD) 2021 is celebrated under the theme “Literacy for a human-centred recovery: Narrowing the digital divide”.
The COVID-19 crisis has disrupted the learning of children, young people and adults at an unprecedented scale. It has also magnified the pre-existing inequalities in access to meaningful literacy learning opportunities, disproportionally affecting 773 million non-literate young people and adults. Youth and adult literacy were absent in many initial national response plans, while numerous literacy programmes have been forced to halt their usual modes of operation.
Even in the times of global crisis, efforts have been made to find alternative ways to ensure the continuity of learning, including distance learning, often in combination with in-person learning. Access to literacy learning opportunities, however, has not been evenly distributed. The rapid shift to distance learning also highlighted the persistent digital divide in terms of connectivity, infrastructure, and the ability to engage with technology, as well as disparities in other services such as access to electricity, which has limited learning options.
The pandemic, however, was a reminder of the critical importance of literacy. Beyond its intrinsic importance as part of the right to education, literacy empowers individuals and improves their lives by expanding their capabilities to choose a kind of life they can value. It is also a driver for sustainable development. Literacy is an integral part of education and lifelong learning premised on humanism as defined by the Sustainable Development Goal 4. Literacy, therefore, is central to a human-centred recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.
Source : UNESCO