Since 1967, September 8th, has been celebrated as International Literacy Day (ILD) annually around the world. It is to remind the public of the magnitude of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights. Plus, to advance the literacy agenda towards a more literate and sustainable society.
Even though there has been at lot of improvement by improving literacy rates in the past fifty years, it remains a global problem. There are thought to be more than 750 million adults around the world who cannot read. In our own country, there is an estimated 32 million adults that are illiterate.
What exactly is literacy? In the Dictionary, it states that literacy as “the quality or state of being literate: educated…able to read and write.” Just imagine how many people adults within our community can’t read this, and not because they aren’t seeing this but that they cant comprehend what these words mean. These same people struggle to understand street signs, a voting ballot, the label on their medication or even the labels on the food they eat. Every time you read an article, filling out a form, reading a menu…just remember all those that can’t.
Can you imagine navigating modern-day life without the basic ability to read and write? Wiping out illiteracy in every local community around the world is what International Literacy Day is all about.
International Literacy Day was first conceived at the “World Conference of Ministers of Education on the Eradication of Illiteracy” held in Tehran, Iran in 1965. The following year UNESCO took the lead and declared September 8 as International Literacy Day, with the primary purpose being “…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.” One year later, the global community accepted the challenge of ending illiteracy by participating in the first International Literacy Day.