For over 40 years, UNESCO has been advocating worldwide literacy through their September 8th International Literacy Day! This year’s International Literacy Day theme is Literacy and Sustainable development, celebrating those who use improvements in literacy in order to create sustainable growth.
The Dr Molteno Institute for Language and Literacy (South Africa) and the International Literacy Institute (USA) are laureates of UNESCO’s 2014 International Literacy Prize for their innovative ‘Bridges to the Future’ programme – using information and communication technologies to empower people of all ages in rural and less developed urban areas. Because of its “multiplier effect”, literacy helps these communities:
- eradicate poverty
- reduce child mortality
- curb population growth
- achieve gender equality
- ensure sustainable development
- foster peace and democracy
Youth Literacy Rate 1990 – 2015
Source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics, September 2013
Whilst the world literacy rate has risen dramatically in the last 25 years, UNESCO estimates that there are still approximately 123 million youths who cannot read a newspaper or write a simple letter. Both UNESCO and 3P Learning view literacy and literate environments as an integral part of life-long learning as well as a basic human right. Literacy can transform and empower individuals, families and their communities, leading to an improved quality of life for all.
Literacy is much more than an educational priority – it is the ultimate investment in the future and the first step towards all the new forms of literacy required in the twenty-first century. We wish to see a century where every child is able to read and to use this skill to gain autonomy.
Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director General
How are you celebrating International Literacy Day?