World Literacy Day – 8 September

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World-Literacy Day

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We have the privilege of education and therefore we are classified under the literate section of the society. There are also people who do not know even how to read or write. This happens because they are not able to avail the most basic human right – the right to education. World Literacy Day or International Literacy Day is a time of the year when we, the educated section of the society can extend support to the uneducated fellow men, women and children in multiple ways. If the society is willing to eliminate illiteracy from the world by putting thoughts into action, we will soon have a world where 100% literacy won’t be a distant dream.

In this article, we will be discussing about World Literacy Day, know the history behind, understand the importance of education and have some data regarding the global and Indian literacy rates. You will also get to know how Covid 19 affected the literacy rate, the theme for the World Literacy Day 2022 and understand how we may support education. 

So, without any delay let us start our reading adventure. 

What is World Literacy Day? 

  • Literacy is defined as the ability to read, write, be educated or literate.
  • World Literacy Day or International Literacy Day is celebrated on 8 September every year all over the world. This day raises awareness about the importance of education in our lives and literacy problems that people face in modern-day world. 
  • World Literacy Day also aims to find solutions to such problems that will help in eradicating illiteracy within local as well as global communities. The day celebrates the fact that each one of us is entitled to the basic human right of education. 
  • Children and adults should have equal rights and access to a free, equitable and quality education so as to secure one’s financial status in the society. 

History of World Literacy Day 

  • The earliest mention of International Literacy Day or World Literacy Day was made at the “World Conference of Ministers of Education on the Eradication of Illiteracy” at Tehran, Iran in the year 1965. 
  • A year later (1966), on September 8, the UNESCO declared the day as the World Literacy Day or International Literacy Day. 
  • The sole aim of the World Literacy Day, as put in the words of UNESCO is: “….to remind the international community of the importance of literacy for individuals, communities and societies, and the need for intensified efforts towards more literate societies.” 

Why is Education Important? 

  • Education plays a significant role in our lives. A literate person has so many advantages over an illiterate one. Acquiring education is not simply gaining knowledge but also provides you with a new perspective about the world. 
  • It cancels out all the blockades that a person faces in their lives and dignifies you. Education is all about freedom that sculpts us into a better personality. True education is also important to eradicate several ills of the society like poverty, gender discrimination etc. It also makes a person capable of scaling new heights in the world.  
  • When the individual is educated, the society will be transformed. For an instance, when a person knows how he is contributing to the thinning of the ozone layer by using aerosols, he will either minimise or ban the use of such items. 
  • We are only able to delve into the deeper when we are educating ourselves and others. Moreover, the recent pandemic situation has made us realise all the more how educated a person needs to be to be able to take necessary precautions. 
  • With the right information and awareness, we can battle all tribulations. Education is also about how we are applying the knowledge in our day-to-day lives and making the world a beautiful place to live in. 
  • World Literacy Day is an excellent initiative by UNESCO that can help educate the future generation or those people who are not able to read or write. By educating one person at a time, the entire population can be educated eventually. 
  • Lastly, education provides a person courage and determination to brave any odds and that is why it must be embraced by all. 

World Literacy Day Timeline 

  • 1965 – International Literacy Day or World Literacy Day was first conceived in this year at the World Conference of Ministers of Education on the Eradication of Illiteracy (Tehran, Iran). 
  • 1966 – UNESCO declares September 8 as the World Literacy Day or International Literacy Day. 
  • 1967 – Various institutions like schools, colleges and institutions get involved in numerous ways to eradicate illiteracy from the world. 
  • 1990 – The critical role that literacy plays in our lives is pointed out at the World Conference on Education for All in Jomtien, Thailand. 
  • 2015 – World leaders adopted the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals at the World Education Forum in Incheon, Republic of Korea. 
  • 2017 – World Literacy Day highlights the importance of literacy to navigate digital medias. 

 Global Literacy Rate 

  • There is an estimate that 771 million people are illiterate in the world. While the literacy rate for the world is high, the literacy rate for developing nations is comparatively low to developed countries. 
  • The average literacy rate for developed nations is 96% or more whereas the average literacy rate for developing nations is 65%. 

Not every country calculates their literacy rate every year. Top 5 countries with the highest literacy rate in the world are given below: 

  • Uzbekistan – 99.99% (2018) 
  • Ukraine – 99.97% (2012) 
  • San Marino – 99.92% (2018) 
  • Latvia – 99.89% (2018) 
  • Czech Republic – 99.83% (2018) 

5 Countries with their lowest literacy rate in the world are given below: 

  • Chad – 22.31% (2016) 
  • Guinea – 32.00% (2014) 
  • South Sudan – 34.52% (2018) 
  • Niger – 35.05% (2018) 
  • Mali – 35.47% (2018) 

Literacy Rate in India 

Literacy rate in India is the percentage of literate persons for the age of 7 and above. The literacy rate is calculated every 10 years in India. It was last calculated in 2021. 

According to the 2021 census, the average literacy rate in India is equal to 77.70%. The literacy rate for males is 84.7% and that for females is 70.3%. Kerala is the state with the highest literacy rate of 96.2% whereas Andhra Pradesh has the least literacy rate of 66.4%. The second state after Kerala to have the highest literacy rate is Delhi with 88.7%. 

Top 5 Indian states with average highest literacy rate as per National Statistical Office (NSO) for 2017-18 are given as follows: 

  • Kerala – 96.2% 
  • Mizoram – 91.58% 
  • Delhi – 88.7% 
  • Tripura – 87.75% 
  • Uttarakhand – 87.6% 

 5 Indian states with the lowest literacy rate as per NSO for 2017-18 are given as follows: 

  • Andhra Pradesh – 66.4% 
  • Rajasthan – 69.7% 
  • Bihar – 70.9% 
  • Telangana – 72.8% 
  • Uttar Pradesh – 73.0 

How Has Covid 19 Affected the Global Literacy Rate? 

Covid 19 created several problems in the education of the general population. The entire world passed out into the digital mode of living. Students and employees had to commence their education and work through their devices. The problems that they faced included lack of connectivity, high-speed internet or the necessary funds to purchase a laptop or a computer. 

The theme for the International Literacy Day 2021 was Literacy for a Human-centred recovery: Narrowing the digital divide. The theme was focused on merging the digital divide through finding effective solutions. It also highlighted the fact that lack of education is another way that spreads the novel coronavirus into the society. 

What Is the Theme of the World Literacy Day 2022? 

  • The theme or message of the World Literacy Day 2022 is “Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces“. This theme will help people to understand the concept of literacy. 
  • Literacy Learning Spaces refers to any place where education can be obtained. It does not necessarily refer to formal classrooms but extends to other spaces like libraries, family discussions, online learning, stations, beaches, streets and many alike. 
  • The world has many emerging issues like political conflict, environmental issues and particularly the pandemic situation in the world has compelled many to dropout from formal education, most of which are women. The International Literacy Day aims to unleash the potential and make the best use of the existing literacy spaces through an integrated approach. 
  • It also aims to propagate literacy learning that will set in motion a lifelong period of learning. Understanding the fundamental role of literacy learning spaces is what the theme for World Literacy Day 2022 will recognise that will ensure equitable, quality and inclusive education for all. 
  • To celebrate World Literacy Day, the activities include a two-day event that will be organized by UNESCO on 8 and 9 September 2022 in Côte d’Ivoire. Through the 2022 UNESCO International Literacy Prizes ceremony, the practices and programmes that will be a part of the celebration will be announced. 

How Can We Contribute to the Global Literacy Day? 

  • The educated generation can come forward and serve as volunteers to teach the illiterate section of the society. They can also help counter the problems faced by the illiterate community by finding solutions to them. 
  • By donating books generously, the uneducated children as well as the adults will have an opportunity to read and write. 
  • It will be of immense help if the student’s education be sponsored which will launch their life-long career. 
  • Government and institutions will find strategies and frame effective policies through think tanks and educational forums so as to help the uneducated acquire knowledge. 
  • Hosting fundraisers is another way to contribute  towards the World Literacy Day. By receiving funds, books, school uniforms, other study materials can be bought and subsequently donated to communities. 
  • Campaigns are even hosted by government bodies to eradicate the ills of illiteracy from the grassroots level. Government can even establish public schools, particularly in villages so that everyone can have access to education. 

Final Thought! 

International Literacy Day or World Literacy Day gives us a moment to think how as individuals we can contribute in all our unique ways towards educating the society. There are children and adults out there who are eager to learn but don’t have the right resources or access to education. Ensuring that they have the right materials is one aim of World Literacy Day. But we must not stop there. We must also make education available to those who are yet not aware of its importance. We must particularly focus on the minority section like women who form a major share of the uneducated population. Creating awareness regarding education is what International Literacy Day does. When people are aware, they will naturally incline towards education and experience all its benefits.

Have you made a donation or contributed anything in educating others? Are you planning to support education by making some effort? Share with us by commenting in the comment section below. 

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