Literacy is often described as being able to read, write and do math equations. However,it goes beyond this because it is a critical skill that enables a person to break free from ignorance. It allows individuals to communicate effectively, make a stand,develop informed opinions, avoid manipulation, and act rationally in social situations. In this digital world, literacy is evolving into something deeper and more challenging. Today, 8th September, is International Literacy Day and the theme is “Literacy in the Digital World.”
This year’s global event focuses on literacy skills for people to “navigate increasingly digitally-mediated societies.” It also aims to “explore effective literacy policies and programmes that can leverage the opportunities that the digital world provides.” Digital technologies are swiftly changing and improving virtually all aspects of life including work, education and socialisation. However, some people do not have access and/or knowledge, skills and competencies, which result in literacy gaps and inequalities.About 750 million adults and 260 million out-of-school youth are currently in need basic literacy skills.
50th Year of International Literacy Day
This year also marks the 50thanniversary of International Literacy Day. The United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO)commemorates it through “Reading the Past, Writing The Future.” The event honours all the efforts to improve worldwide literacy in the past five decades. Furthermore, it discusses ways to address present challenges and to further increase literacy in the future.
While this event is celebrated all over the world,the main universal celebration takes place at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.It will be in the form of a two-day conference until 9th September.The highlights will be the Literacy Prizes awarding ceremony and the Global Alliance for Literacy (GAL) launch. The latter is described as “a new and ambitious drive for all major stakeholders to unite to advocate literacy as a foundation for lifelong learning.”
UNESCO officially declared 8th September as International Literacy Day “to actively mobilize the international community and to promote literacy as an instrument to empower individuals, communities and societies.”Now it has become a huge international celebration that brings together governments, NGOs, private sectors, teachers, students, experts, and communities.
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