The International Literacy Day is commemorated on September 8 every year to raise awareness and concern for literacy problems that exist within our local communities, as well as, on the global scale. International Literacy Day was founded by proclamation of The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, in 1966 “to remind the public of the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights.” this day brings the ownership of the challenges of illiteracy back home to local communities where literacy begins, one person at a time. According to assignment writing services, it was first conceived at the “World Conference of Ministers of Education on the Eradication of Illiteracy” held in Tehran, Iran, in 1965.
The following year UNESCO took the lead and declared September 8 as International Literacy Day, with the primary purpose “…to remind the international community of the importance of literacy for individuals, communities, and societies, and the need for intensified efforts towards more literate societies.” Literacy is most commonly defined as the ability to read and write. But unfortunately, it is not as simple as it sounds. Reading and writing abilities are different in different cultures and contexts, and these too are constantly shifting. These days, reading also includes complex visual and digital media and printed material, while an elderly person who can only read the newspaper might face difficulty in using a computer and reading online.
Different cultures have different perceptions of literacy; it is to highlight the significance of literacy and how it can make a difference in the lives of people all around the world that the International Literacy Day is celebrated. The writing traditions of the English language make reading comprehension an essential part of literacy, but there are some cultures or groups that either cannot read printed material or have limited skills in this regard. Even though a lot of progress has been made by the developed and even the underdeveloped countries to promote literacy and improve literacy rates in more than 50 years since the first International Literacy Day was observed. According to an estimate, there are more than 750 million adults in the world who cannot read; the scourge of illiteracy spares no nation, culture, or race on earth.
It would come as a surprise to many people that even in such a developed and progressed country like the US, 32 million Americans are illiterate. Literacy skills are important; students need literacy to engage with the written word in their everyday life. We use our reading and writing skills every second in our lives, from reading signs to labels and messages on the phone or reading books, everything is only possible with the right literacy skills. These days knowing how to read and write well is very essential technology has made things so advanced, and instead of talking to each other, we can either message or use various apps that require us to read and write.
However, beyond the functional level too, literacy plays a crucial role in transforming students into socially responsible and engaged citizens. People who can read and write can keep up with the current trends, communicate effectively and understand the issues that are shaping the world and play their part in doing something good and constructive for society.
Literacy Facts As Recorded By The UN:
- 773 million adults and young people lack basic literacy skills
- 617 million children and adolescents are not achieving minimum proficiency levels in reading and mathematics
- During the initial phase of the pandemic, schools were closed disrupting the education of 62.3 percent of the world’s student population of 1.09 billion.
- Adult literacy and education were absent in initial education response plans, therefore many youth and adults with no or low literacy skills have had limited access to life-saving information
The main objective behind international literacy day is to focus on the literacy teachings and help educators understand how well they can impart education and the love of reading and writing to their pupil. This is about highlighting literacy learning in a lifelong perspective and thus, focuses on youth and adults. The spread of coronavirus in the past year is a constant reminder of the gap between policy discourse and reality. This gap was already there and was negatively affecting the learning of youths and adults who had no or low literacy skills and they suffered immensely due to it.
COVID-19 has affected the younger generation as well as the educators and the teaching systems. It is necessary to focus on the lessons that have been learned during this time to understand how we can effectively position youth and adult literacy learning in global and national responses and help them move reward with the current trends.