As I mentioned last week, September is National Library Card sign-up month! Coincidentally, yesterday, Thursday, September 8th was the 50th International Literacy Day. In 1966 UNESCO began the yearly worldwide initiative to draw attention to just how important literacy is. This year’s focus was “Reading the Past, Writing the Future” which highlights how literacy should be equally about reading and writing. Surprisingly, 758 million people around the world still are unable to read, the majority of which are women in impoverished nations around the world.
UNESCO released a concise review of literacy over the last five decades.
“As the international community celebrates fifty years of International Literacy Days, it is timely to pause and reflect on how far the world has come in promoting literacy and how the nature of the challenge has changed. Despite huge progress over this half century, the world keeps on changing, new understandings emerge, the population increases and the goalposts shift. This brief publication traces both the progress and the changes, as well as foreshadowing a more detailed analysis of policies and programmes – illustrated by learners’ voices – to be published in this fiftieth anniversary year.”
The report is a quick read, and one that I highly encourage you to read as it discusses progress made over the last fifty years, and also their plans for the future.
“The world has changed since 1966 – but our determination to provide every woman and man with the skills, capacities and opportunities to become everything they wish, in dignity and respect, remains as firm as ever. Literacy is a foundation to build a more sustainable future for all.” -UNESCO Director-General