International Literacy Day and its Significance

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“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

― Mahatma Gandhi

Education is a powerful tool to change billions of lives. It’s a basic necessity and responsibility of every citizen. The future of the nation is entirely depended on the percentage of people getting educated. In order to grow sustainably, one needs to understand the meaning of sustainable development, education does exactly that. Yet, millions are still deprived of this basic necessity due to social, economical and political factors. The importance of education isn’t important for an individual but for the development of society.

According to UNESCO, 262 million children and youth still do not attend school. Approximately, 617 million children cannot read basic calculations. Less than 40% of girls in sub-Saharan Africa complete lower secondary school and some four million children and youth refugees are out of school. The data reveals the dreadful situation. In order to address the issue and come up with a solution, On October 26, 1966, UNESCO pronounced September 8th as ‘International Literacy Day’. Each year since 1967, International Literacy Day has been celebrated around the world. The day focuses on the importance and value of literacy. The theme for International Literacy Day 2020 was ‘Literacy teaching and learning in the COVID-19 crisis and beyond‘. Literacy goal is the part of UN sustainable development goals and its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

India’s literacy rate is 74.4%, which is an increase in literacy rate since last decade. According to the National Sample Survey, Kerala is the most literate state with 96.2%, followed by Delhi which has 88.7% literacy, while Andhra Pradesh records the lowest rate of 66.4%. However, looking at the big picture we are still far away from what we have to do in the coming future.

The purpose of celebrating International Literacy Day is to raise people’s awareness of and concern for literacy problems within their own communities. Activities such as letters to the editor in newspapers, as well as news reports about the concerns for low literacy levels, have occurred as a result of this increased awareness. Other activities include literacy day projects, particularly with regard to technology and literature, which are promoted by various organizations including reading associations.

No doubt, the initiative by UN to promote education is a top priority task to eradicate illiteracy in a shortest period possible. The globalization without involvement of every nation and its citizen will not substantiate the actual growth of networking.

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