International Literacy Day is observed and celebrated widely every year on September 8. The first International Literacy Day was observed in the year 1967.
It is usually observed to remind the international community about the importance of literacy for individuals, communities and societies. International Literacy Day also highlights the need for intensified efforts towards more literate societies.
September 8 was declared as International Literacy Day by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in the year 1966.
History of International Literacy Day:
International Literacy Day was declared by UNESCO on October 26, 1966 at the 14th session of UNESCO's General Conference.
Relevance of International Literacy Day:
Despite progress made over the years, at least 773 million young people and adults lack basic literacy skills today. The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the learning of children, young people and adults at an unprecedented scale. It has also magnified the pre-existing inequalities in access to meaningful literacy learning opportunities.
Even amid the pandemic, efforts are being made to find alternative ways to ensure the continuity of learning, including distance learning, often in combination with in-person learning. However, access to literacy learning opportunities has not been evenly distributed.
The distance learning processes have highlighted the persistent digital divide in terms of connectivity, infrastructure, and the ability to engage with technology, as well as disparities in other services such as access to electricity.
Theme of International Literacy Day:
In 2021, the theme of International Literacy Day is 'Literacy for a human-centred recovery: Narrowing the digital divide'.
According to the UN website, "International Literacy Day 2021 will explore how literacy can contribute to building a solid foundation for a human-centred recovery, with a special focus on the interplay of literacy and digital skills required by non-literate youth and adults. It will also explore what makes technology-enabled literacy learning inclusive and meaningful to leave no one behind. By doing so, ILD2021 will be an opportunity to reimagine future literacy teaching and learning, within and beyond the context of the pandemic."