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International Literacy Day : Literacy Matters

Imagine NOT being able to read or write during this pandemic and missing out on all life saving information! This is what the International Literacy Day 2020 focuses on. This year’s theme- “Literacy teaching and learning in the COVID-19 crisis and beyond- The role of concept educators and changing pedagogies” highlights literacy learning in a lifelong learning perspective, and therefore, mainly focuses on youth and adults. As the ongoing COVID-19 crisis has alarmed us by a sharp remainder of the low literacy skills among the youth and adults, investing on literacy, teaching and learning has now become important more than ever before.

Even though the world has made a progress in literacy in the past decades, according to a report by the United Nations, 773 million adults and young people lack basic literacy skills, 617 million children and adolescents are not achieving minimum proficiency levels in reading and mathematics, during the initial phase of the pandemic, schools were closed disrupting the education of 62.3 % of the world’s student population of 1.09 billion and adult literacy and education were absent in initial education response plans, therefore many youth and adults with no or low literacy skills have had limited access to life-saving information.

The President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, expressed his views on the ILD 2016 by saying, “International Literacy Day reminds us that access to education is vital, not just for the empowerment and advancement of individuals, but also as a crucial pre-condition for the democratic functioning of communities and socities, laying the foundations for a sustainable future for all.”

The Intenational Literacy Day, observed every year on the 8th of September after it was established in the 14th session of UNESCO’s ( United Nation’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation ) general conference in 1966, aimed at highlighting the importance of literacy and the need for intensified efforts towards more literate societies to individuals and communities around the world will be celebrated globally today and would comprise two virtual meetings on ‘Literacy teaching and learning in the COVID-19 crisis and beyond: the role of educators and changing pedagogies’ and ‘Laureates of the UNESCO International Literacy Prizes 2020’.

UNECO says, “International Literacy Day (ILD) 2020 is opportune to revisit different approaches to literacy teaching and
learning, and the vital role that educators play in promoting quality literacy programmes with a particular
focus on youth and adult literacy. Learning lessons from initial responses to the COVID-19 crisis and the
wealth of knowledge accumulated across the world, ILD2020 will also explore the futures of literacy teaching
and learning, as well as the educators’ role in achieving the reimagined teaching and learning the COVID-19
crisis and beyond.”

The Vice President of India tweeted, “Literacy plays an important role in empowering & transforming the lives of individuals and society. On International Literacy Day, let’s resolve to create a self-reliant, self-confident and competent Bharat that is literate, educated and empowered.”

The Ministry of Education posted, “There can be no joy greater than reading and no friend greater than knowledge” Hon’ble PM Shri @narendramodi On this #InternationalLiteracyDay, we promise to work towards achieving 100% literacy by complying with the reforms within the #NationalEducationPolicy2020. #ShikshakParv