International Literacy Day is celebrated on 8th September every year to raise awareness of and concern for literacy across the world. UNESCO declared this day as an opportunity for Governments, civil society and stakeholders to highlight improvements in world literacy rates, and reflect on the world’s remaining literacy challenges.
It was at the 14th session of UNESCO’s General Conference on 26 October 1966 that 8th September was declared as International Literacy Day. Since 1967, celebrations have taken place annually around the world on this day to remind the public of the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights, and to advance the literacy agenda towards a more literate and sustainable society. Despite progress made, literacy challenges persist, and at the same time the demands for skills required for work, evolve rapidly.
International Literacy Day 2019 Theme: Literacy and Multilingualism
International Literacy Day 2019 will focus on ‘Literacy and Multilingualism.’ Despite progress made, literacy challenges persist, distributed unevenly across countries and populations. Embracing linguistic diversity in education and literacy development is central to addressing these literacy challenges and to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Why we celebrate International Literacy Day
UNESCO and its partners promote the day to underline the significance of literacy for healthy societies, with a strong emphasis on epidemics and communicable diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.
Beyond its conventional concept as a set of reading, writing and counting skills, literacy is now understood as a means of identification, understanding, interpretation, creation, and communication in an increasingly digital, text-mediated, information-rich and fast-changing world.
Globally, at least 750 million youth and adults still cannot read and write and 250 million children are failing to acquire basic literacy skills. This results in an exclusion of low-literate and low-skilled youth and adults from full participation in their communities and societies.