Each year September 8th marks UNESCO’s International Literacy day, raising awareness globally on the issues surrounding adult and child literacy. First held in 1966 and now part of the UN’s sustainable development goals program adopted in 2015, International Literacy day highlights the changes and improvements being made worldwide in literacy development.

UNESCO has been central to improving global literacy since 1946 and promotes International Literacy day in partnership with governments, charities, local communities and experts in the field worldwide. Using themes and programs the day aims to turn attention on literacy in all its forms in a changing world. Recognising literacy encompasses more than the written word in societies today the theme for 2017 was ‘Literacy in the Digital World’.

International Literacy Day is a day to remind world leaders, influencers and the general public of the current status of adult literacy and learning. UNESCO has used the phrase “Literacy is the best remedy” in its banners seeing literacy as key to the right for all to an education. In 2015 the UN adopted its Sustainable Development goals to mobilise efforts to eradicate poverty and inequalities across the world, of which improving literacy rates is an integral element.

In conjunction with International Literacy day, UNESCO also announces its International Literacy awards. A prestigious prize recognising excellence and innovation, submissions will be on “Literacy and skills development”, the theme for 2018. With International Literacy Day the awards help in promoting awareness of the importance and relevance of literacy and adult learning.


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