“Literacy is the jump-off point from which all of life’s successes take flight.” Literacy is the vehicle that will take us to a world sustainable, healthy, and prosperous in more ways than one. Education or Literacy isn’t a luxury or a choice, but a right and a responsibility. A right every individual has and should have access to. International Literacy Day falls on September 8 of every year intending to promote awareness and resources so that education reaches each corner of the world.
The theme for International Literacy Day 2022 will focus on “Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces”. The theme allows everyone to rethink the fundamental importance of literacy learning spaces to build resilience and ensure quality, equitable and inclusive education for all.
Why is International Literacy Day Celebrated?
The world observes International Literacy Day on the 8th of September every year to encourage literacy and educate people about their rights to social and personal development. To eliminate poverty, reduce child mortality, manage population growth, and achieve gender equality, literacy is a crucial instrument. This day is observed to motivate people to pursue ongoing education. UNESCO has been at the top of the list regarding promoting global literacy in general and International Literacy Day.
According to statistics from UNESCO, at least 773 million adults worldwide lack basic literary skills. When education rights and literacy are discussed, people often are more focused on children. While children’s education is important for us, Adult education is equally as important. Adults who in their growing years couldn’t have access to literacy, today are unable to earn their living due to a lack of skills.
Literacy and Education reaching such individuals helps reduce unemployment and motivates them to be contributing members of society.
On 26th October 1966, UNESCO declared 8th September as International Literacy Day after the World Conference of Ministers of Education on eradicating illiteracy in Tehran in 1965. The main focus of observing this day is to combat illiteracy and to empower individuals who wish to have access to education.
Literacy is one of the critical components of UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Literacy is a necessary tool to raise family status, both not just academically but also financially. If even half the members of an average family are educated, they can avail various opportunities and stand their feet strong in supporting their family.
International Literacy Day is promoted by UNESCO in partnership with governments, communities, and other organizations. It strives to highlight the importance of literacy and skill development in the context of a changing world through themes and several programs.
The UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy
The UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy was established in 2005 with the support from the People’s Republic of China which considers functional literacy, leveraging technological environments, in support of adults in rural areas and out-of-school youth. The prize winners receive a medal, diploma, and $30000.
What is Different About 2022?
As the world went through a Global Pandemic, it has changed in many ways, including education and the ways we look at it. With multiple individuals losing jobs and companies being closed, several people lost their access to education due to financial problems. This situation stayed the same even after the world started moving again.
With funds and budgets being further divided to help in vaccinations and other aids, the budget allocation to education has decreased drastically around the world.
The theme “Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces” encourages people to respect and work on every learning space and makes them approachable, attainable, and absorbable for all.
Playing Your Part
While we live a well-privileged life with amenities and resources for education, income, and necessities, some people can’t even afford to dream about these things. The kids of your housekeeping staff, the guy who works at that electricity repair shop, the children living on the streets. Every one of these people deserves an education to improve their life.
Here are some ways you can give back to society this International Literacy Day:
- Tutor a child
For kids who wish to enhance their skills to catch up to their proper grade level in reading, the support of a tutor who offers one-on-one attention is a game changer.
One of the best ways to have a long-lasting effect on a local student is to tutor them one hour a week throughout the academic year, but volunteering for one day is also a fantastic place to start. As we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, several institutions and organizations are providing online tutoring opportunities this year.
- Starting a Book Club
Combining multiple books donated or borrowed from members, collectively reading and discussing books can help encourage skills like better vocabulary and in-depth knowledge of concepts.
- Volunteer Work
Several organizations and NGOs work toward the cause of promoting literacy by going to rural schools and other locations where they can promote literacy and teach the basics to the ones who wish to improve.
In the words of Coretta Scott King:
“In every community, there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart, there is the power to do it.”