Every year, International Literacy Day 2021 is celebrated on September 8, 2021. It is celebrated to raise awareness and concern for literacy problems that exist in our country, as well as on the global level.
It was established in 1966 by a proclamation of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO. The aim of the founders was to remind people about the importance of literacy in terms of respect and human rights. On this day, the agenda of building a more literate society is also discussed.
Since 1967, International Literacy Day (ILD) celebrations have taken place annually around the world 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 the progress made, literacy challenges persist, with at least 773 million young people and adults lacking basic literacy skills today.
The theme this year:
International Literacy Day (ILD) 2021 will be celebrated under the theme “Literacy for a human-centered recovery: Narrowing the digital divide“.
The COVID-19 crisis has disrupted the learning of children, young people and adults at an unprecedented scale. It has also magnified the pre-existing inequalities in access to meaningful literacy learning opportunities, disproportionally affecting 773 million non-literate young people and adults. Youth and adult literacy were absent in many initial national response plans, while numerous literacy programs have been forced to halt their usual modes of operation.
Even in the times of global crisis, efforts have been made to find alternative ways to ensure the continuity of learning, including distance learning, often in combination with in-person learning. Access to literacy learning opportunities, however, has not been evenly distributed. The rapid shift to distance learning also highlighted the persistent digital divide in terms of connectivity, infrastructure, and the ability to engage with technology, as well as disparities in other services such as access to electricity, which has limited learning options.
The pandemic, however, was a reminder of the critical importance of literacy. Beyond its intrinsic importance as part of the right to education, literacy empowers individuals and improves their lives by expanding their capabilities to choose a kind of life they can value. It is also a driver for sustainable development. Literacy is an integral part of education and lifelong learning premised on humanism as defined by the Sustainable Development Goal 4. Literacy, therefore, is central to a human-centered recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.
ILD 2021 will explore how literacy can contribute to building a solid foundation for a human-centered recovery, with a special focus on the interplay of literacy and digital skills required by non-literate youth and adults. It will also explore what makes technology-enabled literacy learning inclusive and meaningful to leave no one behind. By doing so, ILD2021 will be an opportunity to reimagine future literacy teaching and learning, within and beyond the context of the pandemic.