Current Affairs

International Literacy Day 2023: Theme, History, Significance, and Key Facts

international literacy day

Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope” ~ Kofi Annan

A person can easily be held back by a lack of essential literacy skills at every stage of their life. They won’t be able to succeed academically as a child, won’t be able to find employment as a young adult, and won’t be able to fund their own child’s education as a parent. A fairer society and social mobility are made more challenging by this intergenerational cycle.

This is why International Literacy Day is important. It is also called World Literature Day! To spread awareness of the importance of being literate and being thankful as well.

Low-literacy individuals might not be able to read a book or a newspaper, comprehend price tags or road signs, comprehend a bus or train schedule, fill out a form, read medication instructions, or use the internet. Literate people, at times, underestimate their ability to read, they take it for granted. Imagine, that you step out of the house and you aren’t able to read anything. All the words are just some lines to you.

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Let’s celebrate International Literacy Day 2023 by contributing to someone’s education.

Literacy is the passport to a comfortable and well-settled life. International Literacy Day is celebrated to:

  • Spread awareness of the importance of literacy
  • Being thankful to be able to read and write

When is Literacy Day?

Every year on September 8, International Literacy Day or World Literature Day is observed to bring attention to and concern for literacy issues that exist both locally and globally. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, established International Literacy Day in 1966 “to remind the public of the importance of literacy as an issue of dignity and human rights.” On International Literacy Day, local communities—where literacy starts, one individual at a time—take responsibility for the problems of illiteracy.

The importance of celebrating world literacy day was highlighted more during the pandemic. The COVID-19 crisis exposed the weakness of adult literacy programs as well as the inadequacy of education systems, infrastructure, teachers, and students for distance learning. The most severely affected were those who were already marginalized, including the 617 million children and adolescents who were already struggling to learn basic reading and math abilities and the 773 million adults and young people who are illiterate, two-thirds of whom are female.

Many initial education responses from nations and the international community lack adult literacy and education. Even before the financial crisis, fewer than 4% of education expenditures were allocated by roughly 60% of governments for adult literacy and education.

The objectives of World Literacy Day 2023 are to:

  • Raise awareness of the importance of literacy for sustainable development and peace.
  • Promote policies and programs that support literacy for all.
  • Celebrate the achievements of individuals and organizations that are working to promote literacy.
world literacy day

History of Literacy Day

The history of World Literacy Day dates back to 1965. Members of the World Conference of Ministers of Education in Tehran in 1965 emphasized the low literacy rate among young people and the necessity of eradicating illiteracy. They also discussed the advantages that increased access to employment will bring to individuals all across the world.

They also emphasized the importance of literacy as a strong instrument for developing society or an individual who can think for themselves and is empowered by it.

In order to promote the development of more literate communities worldwide, UNESCO designated September 8 as International or World Literacy Day in 1966.

Why do we need to spread awareness of Literacy Day? 

Some statistics show literacy rates globally. 

  • The COVID-19 pandemic epidemic has had a significant detrimental effect on educational quality in general and the growth of literacy skills in particular. 90% of the 1.57 billion students around the world were unable to attend class during the start of the pandemic because schools were shut down in more than 190 nations.
  • By November 2020, a typical child has lost 54% of a year’s contact time. When we take into account the loss of prior knowledge, this can be equivalent to more than a year of lost learning10.
  • In general, 40% of low- and lower-middle-income nations did not provide assistance to students who were in danger of exclusion during the COVID-19 epidemic, including those who resided in distant places, the underprivileged, members of linguistic minorities, and students with impairments.
  • The COVID-19 school closures were addressed by a variety of remote learning strategies, from the distribution of paper-based take-home materials to the delivery of lessons via digital and broadcast media (such as TV and radio). The most popular media among low-income people was the radio.
  • 826 million pupils, or 50% of those prevented from attending classes by the pandemic, lack access to a home computer, based on a recent study by the UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS) 

These situations put into question the complete move to online and digital learning for a lot of kids and teenagers.

The pandemic’s effects on education, society, and the economy have disproportionately hurt many young people and adults who cannot read or write. Many nations did not specifically include adult literacy programs in their education response plans at the start of the pandemic. Only a small number of adult literacy programs that were already in place were kept alive digitally, via radio and television, or, if possible, outside.

Also Read: Importance of Education

How Literacy can help?

Why do we need to spread awareness of literacy day? Why literacy is important to the human race?

1. Mental Well-Being

Even reading can help you unwind physically by bringing your heart rate down and releasing tension in your muscles. It offers a constructive diversion.

Reading transports us from our reality (and brains) into the pages of a book, which contains another world. 

Reading, writing, and mental math exercises keep brain cells healthy as we age, lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia later in life, according to studies.

2. Community involvement

The inability of adults and children to participate fully and make contributions to the benefit of society is caused by a lack of literary skills, which restricts social involvement at all age levels.

Being a part of a community can be beneficial for one’s mental and emotional health. Participating in the community fosters a sense of social connectedness and belonging. Additionally, it can give daily life a deeper sense of meaning and purpose.

literacy day

Literacy opens the door to golden opportunities

3. Effective Communication

The ability to read, write, listen, and speak in a way that allows us to communicate successfully and comprehend the world around us is referred to as literacy. Students who lack fundamental literacy skills may struggle in school, have trouble landing a job, experience inequality, or have trouble getting access to healthcare.

Strong literacy abilities can open numerous avenues and foster other abilities including communication, critical thinking, the capacity to comprehend difficult situations, and a love of reading.

4. Escape from Poverty

Reading, writing, and mathematic proficiency is necessary for employment that offers the chance to move up the social and economic ladder. One life at a time, literacy helps to break the cycle of poverty.

The seemingly endless list of advantages of literacy, a steady salary, insurance, benefits, and social standing are just a few.

Key Facts 

international literacy day facts

International Literacy Day (ILD) festivities have been held every year since 1967 to raise awareness of the value of literacy as a matter of human rights and dignity and to push the literacy agenda in the direction of a more literate and sustainable society. Despite advancements, there are still 771 million illiterate persons around the globe, the majority of whom are women. These people are more vulnerable since they lack even the most basic reading and writing skills.

What is the theme of International Literacy Day 2023?

This year 2023 International Literacy Day will be celebrated worldwide under the theme, ‘Promoting literacy for a world in transition: Building the foundation for sustainable and peaceful societies. This means helping more people learn how to read, write, and understand things in a changing world. By doing this, we’re creating a strong base for societies that can last a long time and be calm and peaceful. In other words, it’s about making sure everyone can read and write to help our world become better and more peaceful, especially during times of change.  

This year’s theme highlights the importance of literacy in building a more sustainable and peaceful world.

Literacy is essential for individuals to participate fully in society and to make informed decisions about their lives. It is also essential for economic development and social progress. When people are literate, they are more likely to be employed, earn a higher income, and live healthier lives. They are also more likely to be engaged citizens who participate in democratic processes.

In a world that is increasingly interconnected and interdependent, literacy is more important than ever. It is the foundation for understanding different cultures and perspectives, for resolving conflicts peacefully, and for building a more sustainable future.

Here are some specific ways to promote literacy for a world in transition:

  • Invest in early childhood education and literacy programs.
  • Provide access to quality education for all, regardless of gender, race, or socioeconomic status.
  • Remove barriers to literacy, such as poverty, discrimination, and lack of access to technology.
  • Celebrate literacy and the achievements of literate individuals and communities.

By working together, we can create a world where everyone has the opportunity to learn and grow, and where literacy is the foundation for a more sustainable and peaceful future.

International Literacy Day 2022 theme was “Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces,” and it will be an occasion to reconsider the basic significance of literacy learning spaces for fostering resilience and guaranteeing high-quality, equitable, and inclusive education for all. It was focused on ensuring good-quality learning spaces. It covers infrastructure, teaching methodologies, visual aids, and technology. 

Here are four ways to use the power of literacy in your own life to honour International Literacy Day:

  • Read a book

When did you last settle in to read a book? Reading offers the door to a world of information and adventure, whether you get it from your neighbourhood bookshop, Amazon, or on your Kindle. You can peek into people’s lives all across the world through books. You can live as a wallflower in the lives of Kenyan smallholder farmers or a teen girl living in Pakistan with books like The Last Hunger Season and I Am Malala.

  • Financial Literacy Day Activity

More than ever, it’s crucial to have a strong foundation in financial literacy, but regrettably, neither parents nor teachers frequently emphasize this skill. These financial literacy exercises can help students of all ages learn how to manage their money for the rest of their lives.

  • Everyone’s future success depends on their ability to use technology.
  • Together, come up with a list of justifications for the significance of learning to read, write, and speak.
world literacy day celebration

Spread your ability with needy ones

This time, celebrate International Literacy Day 2023 by being thankful for being able to read and write. Try your bit and help the less fortunate by passing on this ability. Join an NGO and teach young kids how to read and write. 

How do you plan to celebrate World Literacy Day?

More Current Affairs Topics:
International Students DayWorld Students Day
National Education DayWorld Teachers Day
World Ozone DayNational Science Day
National Productivity DayChildren’s Day (India)
National Mathematics Day

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