International Literacy Day was decided by UNESCO on the 7th of November in the year 1965 to celebrate it on the 8th of September every year which was celebrated the first time in the year 1966. It was started celebrating all over the world to emphasize the great importance of literacy to individuals, society, and communities.
The day is celebrated specially to rememorize the status of literacy and adult education to the international community.
International Literacy Day 2019
International Literacy Day was observed on Sunday, 8th September 2019. The theme for this year’s celebration was “Literacy and Multilingualism.”
This year’s celebrations discussed the main attributes of multilingualism in the context of today’s globalized and digitalized world.
A category 4 – International Congress was held at UNESCO’s (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Head Offices in France and Paris on Monday, 9th September.
UNESCO had called for the International Community to attend the “Literacy and Multilingualism” conference to discuss the role of multilingualism in promoting and sustaining literacy, in today’s shrinking linguistic and cultural differences.
A discussion was made on the formulation of policies for making literacy and multilingualism more effective.
In India, International Literacy Day is celebrated by reaching out to deprived sections of society, mainly the children and making them aware of the advantages of literacy.
Children belonging to the lower strata of society made posters and banners based on the theme of the celebration. Events were organized by Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and local governments.
International Literacy Day Celebration
According to the global monitoring report over education, it is noted that one among the five-man and two-third of women is illiterate. Some of them have minimum literacy skills, some children are still out of school and some are irregularly attending the school. South and West Asia are noted to have the lowest adult literacy rate of about 58.6%. The countries with the lowest literacy rate are Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger.
The day is celebrated having special themes, programs, and goals of education all over the world. The theme of the year 2007 and 2008 celebration was the Literacy and Health (strong attention over the epidemics to prevent people from communicable diseases like HIV, tuberculosis, cholera, and Malaria). The theme of the years 2009 and 2010 was the Literacy and Empowerment of women whereas the theme of the 2011 and 2012 celebration was the Literacy and Peace.
The importance of celebrating the day is to promote the public consciousness about the extraordinary value of written word and requirement to encourage the literate rate of the society. Some of the writers writing to support literacy improvement are Margaret Atwood, Paulo Coelho, Philippe Delerm, Paul Auster, Philippe Claudel, Fatou Diome and many more.
Some of the companies, charity organizations, Global Development Research Center, Rotary International, Montblanc and the National Institute for Literacy are also involved in supporting social literacy. Literacy shapes the life of human beings as well as builds up their cultural identity.
Why International Literacy Day is celebrated
Celebrating International Literacy Day is to promote human attention towards literacy and know their rights for social and human development. Literacy is as important as food to be alive and successful. It is too necessary to eradicate poverty, lowering child mortality, controlling population growth, attaining gender equality and etc.
Literacy has the ability to raise the family status and hence the country’s status. It is celebrated to encourage the people towards getting continuous education and understand their responsibilities for the family, society and the country.
International Literacy Day Themes
International Literacy Day celebration takes place on a specific theme of the year in order to make it effective by executing some strategic plans to resolve the problems related to illiteracy all over the world in many countries. Some of the year wise themes of the International Literacy Day are mentioned below:
> Theme for 2006 was “Literacy sustains development” to focus on achieving social progress.
> Theme for 2007 and 2008 was “Literacy and Health” to focus on literacy and epidemics (communicable diseases like HIV, Tuberculosis, Malaria, etc).
> Theme for 2009-2010 was “Literacy and Empowerment” to focus on gender equality and empowering women.
> Theme for 2011-2012 was “Literacy and Peace” to focus on the importance of literacy for peace.
> The theme for 2013 was “Literacies for the 21st Century” to promote global literacy.
> Theme for 2014 was “Literacy and Sustainable Development” to promote sustainable development in the areas of social development, economic growth, and environmental integration.
> Theme for 2015 was “Literacy and Sustainable Societies”.
> The theme of 2016 was “Reading the Past, Writing the Future”.
> The theme of 2017 was “Literacy in a digital world”.
> Theme for the international literacy day of 2018 was “Literacy and skills development”.
> Theme for the international literacy day 2019 is “Literacy and Multilingualism”.