World Literacy Day is commemorated on September 8 every year. The day is observed to remind the international community of the importance of literacy for individuals, communities, and societies, as well as the necessity for increased efforts toward a more literate society, as per the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
History of World Literacy Day
The idea for a World Literacy Day was conceived during the World Conference of Ministers of Education for the Eradication of Illiteracy in Tehran in 1965. On October 26, 1966, UNESCO designated September 8 as World Literacy Day to address global illiteracy. The first World Literacy Day was held in 1967, and it has been an annual event for the past 50 years.
World Literacy Day has been observed every year since 1967 to educate the public about the value of literacy as a matter of pride and civil rights, as well as to promote the literacy agenda for a more literate and progressive society.
The goal was to promote literacy as a force that could empower individuals as well as entire communities, not just to combat illiteracy. It would also help many individuals across the world to find work and improve their lives.
While UNESCO has noticed positive developments in children’s literacy rates, the same cannot be stated for the adult population. Despite advances, literacy issues persist, with about 773 million individuals globally lacking fundamental literacy abilities.
The United Nations (U.N.) Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, include literacy as a major component. In 2015, this day was also designated as part of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals program. One of the aims of Sustainable Development Goal Four is to ensure that all young people obtain reading and numeracy, as well as those adults who lack these abilities are allowed to learn them.
Even during times of global crises, attempts have been made to discover alternate ways to preserve learning continuity, such as distant learning, which is frequently used in conjunction with in-person education. However, literacy learning opportunities are not always widely available.
The digital age’s sudden move to distant learning reveals a persistent disparity in infrastructure and skills required to use technology, as well as disparities in other services such as energy availability, which limit learning opportunities.
World Literacy Day timeline
The concept of World Literacy Day is born during the World Conference of Ministers of Education on the Eradication of Illiteracy in Tehran.
On October 26, UNESCO declares September 8 as World Literacy Day.
The inaugural World Literacy Day is celebrated.
World Literacy Day focuses on the literacy skills required to navigate digitally mediated cultures.
World Literacy Day FAQs
What is the most common cause of illiteracy?
Illiteracy is caused by a variety of factors. The fact that it is usually associated with poverty shows that some of the causes could include an insufficient number of qualified teachers, as well as the economic position of families that place a low value on their children’s education.
How can illiteracy be eradicated?
Here are some of the strategies that could influence the progression of illiteracy in communities: Increased funding in government schools, an inclusive learning environment, teacher training, vocational training, and adjusting social norms.
What happens to illiterates?
Individuals with low reading levels are more likely to have poorer job prospects, as well as a lower income. As a result, they are more likely to be on welfare, have low self-esteem, and commit more crimes.
How to Observe World Literacy Day
Encourage someone to read
What could be more rewarding than assisting someone in becoming more knowledgeable by encouraging them to read?! It's a rewarding experience to assist a family member who is just learning to read or to offer assistance to a neighbor or friend who requires tutoring.
Start a book club
Gather a bunch of friends and read a book together while discussing it to show your appreciation for the day. Even if you've already read the book, discussing it in a group may make it so much better and more intriguing.
Read a book
Picking up a book is an easy way to start celebrating! Visit your local library or literary center for a more immersive experience.
5 Facts About Books That Will Blow Your Mind
That ‘good story’ smell
The term 'Bibliosma' is the love for the smell of books.
Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Codex Leicester,” written in 1510, holds the record for the most expensive book; it was purchased for a mouth-watering $30.8 million by Bill Gates.
Founded in 565 A.D., the oldest operational library in the world lies at the foothills of Mount Sinai in Egypt within Saint Catherine's Monastery and holds the world's second-largest treasure trove of manuscripts outside the Vatican City.
The “Bible,” “Chairman Mao Tse-Tung's Quotations,” and the “Harry Potter” series are the three most widely read books.
J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series suffered rejection from 12 separate publishers before it was picked up by Bloomsbury.
Why World Literacy Day is Important
Raising awareness about literacy
The day aims to create awareness, spark discussion, and inspire action on literacy as a force of human development. The observance sheds light on the importance of literacy and the crucial role it plays in our society.
Literacy improves the standard of living
Literacy is a force of change in any society. Rising levels of learning can influence eradicating poverty, reducing infant mortality, managing population growth, and attaining gender equality.
An excuse to read
In the context of a digital world, World Literacy Day is an important reminder of the joys and benefits of reading. It’s the perfect excuse to unplug from the matrix and get lost in a good book.
World Literacy Day dates