International Literacy Day

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2024 Date8 September 2024
2025 Date8 September 2025

International Literacy Day

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International Literacy Day History

International Literacy Day is an annual event established by UNESCO to emphasize the importance of literacy and promote it among people of all ages, communities, and cultures. The day aims to raise awareness about the crucial role that literacy plays in improving the lives of individuals, reducing poverty, and fostering sustainable development. On this day, governments, educators, and organizations around the world join forces to address various aspects of literacy, including access to education, adult learning, and the integration of digital technologies into learning experiences.

Established in 1966 by UNESCO, International Literacy Day recognizes the challenge of illiteracy worldwide, particularly in developing nations such as India. In India, this observance holds significant relevance as it grapples with low literacy rates, especially among women and marginalized communities. Over the years, several government initiatives like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and the Right to Education have sought to tackle this pressing issue, improving literacy rates among children and young adults. However, persistent challenges in access to quality education, infrastructure, and the transition to digital learning have led to a continued focus on addressing literacy disparities in the country.

Each year, International Literacy Day in India is marked by events, seminars, and campaigns organized by governmental and non-governmental bodies, schools, and community organizations aimed at promoting literacy and raising awareness about its importance. Various activities are organized, including rallies, workshops, and competitions, to engage the public and involve them in the collective effort of building a literate society. International Literacy Day is observed globally, including India, on the 8th of September, providing an opportunity for all stakeholders to come together in the pursuit of a brighter and more educated future for everyone.

Facts about International Literacy Day

  • The theme for International Literacy Day 2023 was Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces.
  • According to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy, 50% of American Adults are unable to read a book at the eighth grade level and 23% of American Adults are functionally illiterate.
  • Males aged 15 and over have a literacy rate of 90%, while females lag only slightly behind at 82.7%.
  • India has made significant strides in increasing adult literacy rates. As per the UNESCO data, the adult literacy rate (ages 15 and above) has increased from 48.2% in 1991 to 73.1% in 2020.
  • A notable gender disparity exists in the literacy rates across the country. With a male literacy rate of 84.7% and a female literacy rate of 70.3%, there remains a 14.4 percentage point gap.

Top things to do in India for International Literacy Day

  • Volunteer at your local retirement home, nursing home, or hospital as a reader. Volunteering as a reader will allow you to share the joy of reading with the elderly or ill patients.
  • Many libraries and even bookstores offer free readings. Check their website to find out about upcoming readings.
  • Newspapers, radio, and television channels often feature special programs, articles, and shows highlighting literacy issues, successful initiatives, and inspiring stories of individuals who have overcome challenges to become literate.
  • Libraries and bookstores often hold special events or offer discounts on books during International Literacy Day in support of literacy. You can attend book readings, storytelling sessions, or workshops related to reading and writing.

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