The International Literacy Day (ILD) is celebrated every year on 8 September to draw attention to improvements in world literacy rates. This is also the time for governments across the world, civil society and stakeholders to reflect upon the world’s literacy challenges that lie before them. In 2020, International Literacy Day will be celebrated on 8 September, like every year and it will fall on a Tuesday. International Literacy Day was first held in 1966.
In 1965, UNESCO proclaimed September 8th as International Literacy Day to combat worldwide issues of illiteracy. The purpose of this day is to promote literacy as a tool that could empower individuals as well as whole communities. As of 2016, about 776 million adults lack even the most basic skills of literacy all over the world. This means that about one in five adults in the world, or about 20 % of all people – are not literate. Of that 20%, about 66% of those are women. About 75 million of the world’s children are not in school or have dropped out before they have finished. However, thanks to the efforts of UNESCO & World Literacy Day, more and more people are becoming literate and about 4 billion people are currently literate, as of now.
Every year, UNESCO and its partners make themes to highlight the programs which it and its partners use to tackle various parts of the literacy issues around the globe. As a result of some of these programs, attention is often raised in the media about literacy issues. Especially in the world of social media where the hashtag #literacy day has been trending for the last few years.
The day is observed to spread awareness about literacy, promote good quality education, and develop skills in people that make them learned and employable in the outside world. World literacy day provides a platform that raises awareness about the importance of education. Education creates a pathway to our future. It helps us realize our potential and opens a more significant channel of opportunities to serve the world with different capacities.
Depending on the theme decided for the particular year, various initiatives are taken up. Award ceremonies and prize distributions for achievers in education, activities for empowerment through education, awareness, and engagements on spreading literacy, etc. World Literacy Day marks the greatest hallmark events across the globe to promote literacy and spread education amongst masses. There are a number of ways in which the day is celebrated across international spaces.
Event to donate books to the needy – Children studying in schools should be taught about charity and the need to donate. On World Literacy Day, parents, teachers, and students can come together to create a library of books that they have studied or no longer in use and donate to someone in great need of them. Individual governments should step up their measures to improve literacy rates in their respective countries and make education, affordable, accessible, and approachable to all. Let us strive for education and a better world to live!