The world still stands in wonder as to how human beings have walked to top of the hierarchy, by assimilating knowledge and using the same to create new things. We have been on a continuous process since time immemorial, and one of the most valuable things that we have learned is the importance of education.
Education is not just ideas and concepts. It is the use of communication to read and to write and doing so telling the world about a new discovery, a hypothesis or a poem. In such matters, one has to know to read and write to gain and give information. This is done only through the means of Literacy.
What is Literacy?
The ability to read and write is basically called Literacy. If one is able enough read and write a script they are considered literate. And though proficiency in writing and reading doesn't mean that one is competent in terms of intelligence, but it does help one get there.
As the modern times are increasingly advancing, the meaning of literacy is also evolving. Today, literacy is not just about reading and writing but also the ability to use a language, images, numbers and the use of digital means to communicate, understand, acquire knowledge and spread information.
What is International Literacy Day?
Now that we have established the importance of Literacy, we need to know how the world celebrates the need for literacy. The International Literacy Day is celebrated on every September 8.
History of Literacy Day
The initial observance started in the year 1965, from September 8 to 19 when during a World Conference of Ministers of Education in Tehran, Iran the world agreed on the need to remove every mark of illiteracy off the world.
The next year on October 26, 1966 the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) organized the 14th general conference and announced that September 8 will be celebrated every year as International Literacy day.
Why do we need Literacy Day?
All over the world, schools, colleges and various institutions observe the importance of literacy. The reason is very statistical. To talk about the world, 775 million adults do not have basic literacy skills. South and West Asia have the lowest regional adult literacy rate of 58.6 per cent. Countries like Burkina Faso with 12.8 per cent and Niger with 14.4 per cent have the lowest around the world.
One must also keep the fact in mind that there is clear connection between poverty and literacy and between the discrimination against the female gender and literacy. Which gives way for more problems in the society.
Celebrations around the World
Every year the day is celebrated with a theme. This year the Literacy Day will be commemorated with under the theme of 'Literacy in a Digital World.' The event will be organized at the Headquarters of UNESCO in Paris.
The focus will be on how certain sort of literacy skills are required for people in today's age to move and communicate through the advancing digitally focused society.
The web page of the UNESCO for the International Literacy Day reads, "...digital technologies are fundamentally changing the way people live, work, learn and socialise everywhere. They are giving new possibilities to people to improve all areas of their lives including access to information; knowledge management; networking; social services; industrial production, and mode of work.
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However, those who lack access to digital technologies and the knowledge, skills and competencies required to navigate them, can end up marginalised in increasingly digitally driven societies. Literacy is one such essential skill."
There are 2017 UNESCO International Literacy Prizes, which will be awarded in a ceremony to recognize the contribution of people and communities around the world in terms of the year's theme.
Celebrations of Literacy Day in India
The Indian Government will be celebrating the International Literacy Day at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi by felicitating the Saakshaar Bharat Awards to Districts, Gram Panchayats, NGOs and States who have done extremely well in the area of literacy and education. The celebrations for the same were innaugrated.
The 51st Literacy Day, brings good new for the country as the Educational Statistics 2015-16 shine on the fact that the literacy rate in India has increased to 69.3 per cent in the year 2011 from the 61.0 per cent in the year of 2001.
The country has also seen increase in literacy in women, which has moved up to 59.3 per cent in 2011 from the 47.8 per cent in 2001.
We hope that commemoration of days like International Literacy Day will bring the need for perfect literacy much more out there. So keep doing your bit!
Happy International Literacy Day!
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