With this Friday’s International Literacy Day coming up, the importance of reading and writing is brought into focus. While we may take for granted that we can look at our computer screens and read (or write) this post, access to education and reading materials is severely restricted in many parts of the world.
If you aren’t familiar with this observance, September 8th was declared as International Literary Day by UNESCO back in 1965. It’s a day to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals and communities around the world. This year, take a moment to reflect on how lucky we are to have access to the educations and written works that we do and consider how you can help promote literacy in your own life.
International Literacy Day
- At last reporting (2015), UNESCO reports Niger as having the lowest overall literacy rats (19.1%)
- North Korea (DPRK) reported a 100% literacy rate that year
- The global literacy rate was 86.3% in 2015
- The lack of emphasis on female education in some regions is reflected in women’s lower overall literacy rate (82.7% compared to 90% for men)
- Between 2000 and 2010 the youth literacy rate in the Central African Republic fell from 60.81% to 36.36%
- Last year, UNESCO implemented their 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” so that by 2030 all youth, and a substantial proportion of adults, are literate
- UNESCO awards International Literacy Prizes, including the Confucius Prize (most recently awarded to the South African Department of Basic Education, the Jan Shikshan Sansthan Organisation and the Directorate of Literacy and National Languages in Senegal)
- As of 2012, approximately 775 million adults around the world lacked minimum literacy skills (that means one in five men and two-thirds of women can be classified as illiterate)
- This year’s theme is “Literacy in a Digital Age”
For more information on UNESCO and International Literacy Day, please visit their website here.
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