2016 marks the 50th anniversary of International Literacy Day and UNESCO is celebrating it under the banner “Reading the Past, Writing the Future”. World Literacy Day 2016 is celebrated at France, Paris as a Category 2-Intergovernmental meeting. International Literacy Day 2016 celebrates and honors the past five decades of national and international engagement, efforts and progress made to increase literacy rates around the world. It also addresses current challenges and looks to innovative solutions to further boost literacy in the future.
About International Literacy Day :
September 8 was proclaimed International Literacy Day by UNESCO on November 17, 1965. Its aim is to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies.
- On International Literacy Day each year, UNESCO reminds the international community of the status of literacy and adult learning globally. Celebrations take place around the world.
- Some 775 million adults lack minimum literacy skills; one in five adults is still not literate and two-thirds of them are women; 60.7 million children are out-of-school and many more attend irregularly or drop out.
- According to UNESCO’s “Global Monitoring Report on Education for All (2006)” , South and West Asia has the lowest regional adult literacy rate (58.6%), followed by sub-Saharan Africa (59.7%), and the Arab States (62.7%). Countries with the lowest literacy rates in the world are Burkina Faso (12.8%), Niger(14.4%) and Mali (19%). The report shows a clear connection between illiteracy and countries in severe poverty, and between illiteracy and prejudice against women.
- Celebrations of International Literacy Day have included specific themes, in line with Education For All goals and other United Nations programs such as the United Nations Literacy Decade. The celebration’s theme for 2007 and 2008 was “Literacy and Health”, with prizes awarded to organizations at the forefront of health education.
- This was also the thematic emphasis of the 2007-2008 biennium of the United Nations Literacy Decade. In particular, International Literacy Day 2008 had a strong emphasis on Literacy and Epidemics with a focus on communicable diseases such as HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria, some of the world’s forefront public health concerns.
- For 2009-2010 the emphasis was placed on “Literacy and Empowerment”, with special consideration to Gender Equality and the empowerment of women. The theme of the 2011-2012 celebrations is “Literacy and Peace”.
- To raise public awareness of the extraordinary value of the written word and of the necessity to promote a literate society, the many writers are supporting UNESCO through the Writers for Literacy Initiative. Not only have the writers contributed to raising awareness to the problem of illiteracy: along with the writers’ engagement, there are various companies and charity organizations that support the fight against illiteracy.
Kerala-Based NGO to Receive UNESCO Literacy Prize in Paris :
- A Kerala-based NGO, The Jan Sikshan Sansthan (JSS) received the prestigious UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy for its literacy-linked skill development activities at a ceremony in Paris.
- The award aims to recognize the efforts of the NGO in helping underprivileged people achieve a better livelihood through its various activities in education and skill development.
- The award was presented in two-day conference on 8 and 9 September at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris. The conference witnessed the participation of Education Ministers from UNESCO’s member states.