International Literacy Day is celebrated on 8th September, every year. This is to remind every individual, community and society that literacy plays an important role in achieving sustainable development. And as we move towards sustainable development, we tend to forget the root cause of ILD. Though we have become literate, but ask yourself what do you know about International Literacy Day? NOTHING! So read further and find out about it.
Basic information about ILD:
8th September was proclaimed as International Literacy Day by the UNESCO in 1966. The aim was to remind people internationally about importance of literacy for community, individual and society and need for efforts towards more literate societies. This issue was the key component of UN’s Sustainable Development Agenda signed by world leaders in September 2015. They have goals and targets to achieve for sustainable development. One of which is ensuring young population achieve literacy and numeracy and adults who lack these skills get opportunity to acquire them.
Why is everybody talking about literacy all of a sudden?
Literacy is an evergreen topic. Years may come and go, but thee shall always talk about literacy. Adding one or two new words in definition, just like rainwater in a container. And when the container is fully filled, transfer into another big container. This is how we will develop. For instance, the definition of literacy was just “to read and write” when it was first proposed. After that, when people became more literate, they start adding to it. When the East India Company were ruling us, they used divide and rule policy which created differences. Some were literate while some were illiterate. After 75 years of independence, we have literacy rate of 77.7%.
This is a great achievement. But is it enough? I told you, the container needs to get bigger and bigger. And it did become. The theme of ILD 2021 is ‘Literacy for a human-centered recovery, Narrowing the digital divide.’ During the pandemic, none could go out of their house. The education revolutionized and became digital. From numeracy to advanced skill training, everything was digital. New infrastructure, syllabus and environment had to set up in making 773 million people literate. The number is still in count. Hence, the theme is to make young and adults comfortable with the change that may come in future.
Reasons for variation in Literacy rates from place to place:
The UNESCO has drafted a definition of literacy as the “ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate, compute and use printed and written materials associated with varying contexts. Literacy involves a continuum of learning enabling individuals to achieve their goals, to develop their knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in their community and wider society.”
The total percentage of the population of an area at a particular time aged seven years or above who can read and write with understanding defines the literacy rate. The literacy rate differs due to various reasons:
- Educational policies and infrastructure in the country
- Social and cultural life of people
- Catchy Rumour spread
- Beliefs of people
There are a lot more reasons and factors which affect the literacy rates in the country or state. But world leaders have agreed with UNESCO to achieve sustainable development by 2030. For which, high Literacy rate is the key demand.
What role do we play in ILD?
Government will set the policies to promote literacy for young and adults. They will do what they can do. But as a citizen of India, our role is to not waste any educational resource provided, in general sense. If we talk about books, pages, pencil, pen, eraser, scale, etc; we should make optimum use of it and teach others who practice incorrectly. If the books are read by us and we don’t need them any more, we should donate those who need it. The parents should teach their kids these lessons of helping, caring and not wasting. Along with this, teens must teach the older ones about the technology.
If knowledge spreads in such a way, literacy rates of India would keep going higher.