Celebrate UN International Literacy Day

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 progress made, literacy challenges persist with at least 773 million adults worldwide lacking basic literacy skills today.

Literacy teaching and learning in the COVID-19 crisis and beyond

International Literacy Day 2020 focuses on “Literacy teaching and learning in the COVID-19 crisis and beyond,” especially on the role of educators and changing pedagogies. The theme highlights literacy learning in a lifelong learning perspective, and therefore, mainly focuses on youth and adults. The recent Covid-19 crisis has been a stark reminder of the existing gap between policy discourse and reality: a gap that already existed in the pre-COVID-19 era and negatively affects the learning of youth and adults, who have no or low literacy skills, and therefore, tend to face multiple disadvantages. During COVID-19, in many countries, adult literacy programs were absent in the initial education response plans, so most adult literacy programs that did exist were suspended, with just a few courses continuing virtually, through TV and radio, or in open air spaces.  What is the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on youth and adult literacy educators and teaching and learning? What are the lessons learnt? How can we effectively position youth and adult literacy learning in global and national responses and in strategies for the recovery and resilience-building phase? 

By exploring these questions, International Literacy Day 2020 provides an opportunity to reflect on and discuss how innovative and effective pedagogies and teaching methodologies can be used in youth and adult literacy programs to face the pandemic and beyond. The Day will also give an opportunity to analyse the role of educators, as well as formulate effective policies, systems, governance and measures that can support educators and learning. 

Online Events

The global celebrations of International Literacy Day on 8 September 2020 will be composed of two virtual meetings:

  • Meeting on ‘Literacy teaching and learning in the COVID-19 crisis and beyond: the role of educators and changing pedagogies’ (13:30-15:30 in Paris time)
  • Meeting on the Laureates of the UNESCO International Literacy Prizes 2020 (16:00-17:00 in Paris time).

Both meetings will be accessible by registering through Zoom.

A full list of international events can be found here.

“At a time when we need to reinvent a world of hope, literacy is more important than ever. On this International Day, I thus invite all those involved in education to redouble their investments and mobilize all their resources to unleash the potential of each individual in the service of a shared world.”

— Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director General, on the occasion of International Literacy Day

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Why do we mark International Days?

International days are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool.

Sources:

https://en.unesco.org/commemorations/literacyday

https://www.un.org/en/observances/literacy-day

Image courtesy UNESCO

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