In 1966, UNESCO declared September 8 as International Literacy Day to remind the international community of the value of literacy for people, communities, and societies, as well as the necessity for further efforts toward a more literate society. International Literacy Day was first observed in 1967, and it has been observed annually for more than 50 years.
Every year on September 8, World Literacy Day is commemorated to remind people that literacy is the most valuable component of their life. Humans need literacy and education to grow and create a sustainable environment, however many individuals in the twenty-first-century lack fundamental literacy skills.
It is critical to commemorate World Literacy Day in order to raise awareness among the youth. The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development both include literacy as a major component. The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Agenda, which was endorsed by world leaders in September 2015, encourages everyone to have access to high-quality education and learning opportunities throughout their life. One of the aims of Sustainable Development Goal 4 is to ensure that all young people obtain reading and numeracy, as well as that adult who lack these abilities are given the opportunity to learn them.
For almost two years, the globe has been afflicted by a global pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus, and education and literacy have been severely affected as a result.
This year, the United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has declared that International Literacy Day 2021 would be held under the topic “Literacy for a Human-Centered Recovery: Narrowing the Digital Divide.” “Digital skills have become a critical factor in accessing life-saving information,” UNESCO tweeted.
However, more than half of the world’s population lacks basic computer skills. We must intensify our efforts to improve everyone’s #literacy and digital skills!” This theme will look into the possibilities for spreading technology-enabled literacy to all people. No one should be denied their right to be read and well-educated.
The UNESCO International Literacy Prizes have been honouring achievement and innovation in literacy since 1967. Governments, non-governmental organizations, and individuals from all around the world have been acknowledged for nearly 500 projects and programmes. UNESCO aspires to support good literacy practices and the promotion of dynamic literate societies through these renowned Prizes. Following the recommendations of an international panel, the winners of the UNESCO International Literacy Prizes were announced by the Director-General of UNESCO on September 3, 2021.
- Limitless Horizons Ixil in Guatemala received the UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize for its programme “Broadcasting Bilingual Stories: Promoting Interactive Literacy Programming in Rural Guatemala.”
- For its programme “Enabling education of persons with disabilities using technology-enabled inclusive learning material, with a specific focus on Indian sign language-based content,” the National Institute of Open Schooling in India received the award.
- For its initiative ‘Using digital technology to promote children’s literature in South Africa’s indigenous languages,’ the Puku Children’s Literature Foundation in South Africa received the award.
- Also, ONG GA-TIC Côte d’Ivoire in Côte d’Ivoire received the UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy for their ‘Functional literacy for traders in Abidjan through the use of ICT’ initiative.
- For its ‘Ain Shams University expertise in conducting online literacy classes for rural areas in Egypt’ programme, Ain-Shams University in Egypt was recognised.
- Mexico’s ‘Building & Growing’ initiative is called Construyendo y Creciendo.
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