International Literacy Day is celebrated on 8 September every year. It reminds the global community about the importance of literacy for everyone, including individuals, communities, and societies. It also aims to push for more intensified efforts towards more literate societies.
The first International Literacy Day was celebrated in 1967. It began as an initiative to remind the common people about the importance of literacy to ensure dignity and human rights. A more literate society leads towards a more sustainable society.
This day draws attention to the fact that there are still millions of people who struggle to gain literacy even today, let alone receive a formal education. It is meant to create awareness about the importance of literacy, numeracy, and education. These should also be made accessible to those who need it the most.
As per UNESCO data, at least 773 million adults worldwide lack basic literacy skills. While children’s education and literacy is often at the centre of the discourse, not many people think about literacy for adults. This is equally important for the development of a society and a nation.
Literacy is one of the key components of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The target of Goal 4 is to ensure that all young people become literate and achieve numeracy. The adults who lack these skills should also get the opportunity to acquire them.
A literate population can open many doors out of poverty and unemployment. It may even open doors for entrepreneurship. Literacy is the first step towards education. Thus, it is futile to undermine the importance of literacy.
Theme for International Literacy Day 2021
As a result of the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the theme for this year is ‘Literacy for a human-centred recovery: Narrowing the digital divide’. The focus of this theme is to explore opportunities to spread an inclusive and technology-based literacy. It is very important to bridge the digital gap that has surfaced as a result of COVID-19.
It is vital to acknowledge that being literate and educated/informed can lead to our personal and professional growth and improve our overall lifestyle. Thus, education is one of the most important aspects of a human being’s development. International Literacy Day 2021 promotes this idea.