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Date, Theme, History and Significance

International Literacy Day is celebrated on September 8 every year to promote the importance of literacy for dignity and human rights, and a literate and sustainable society. The day is celebrated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) at the global, regional, country, and local levels across the world.

International Literacy Day 2023, Theme

The theme ‘Promoting literacy for a world in transition: Building the foundation for sustainable and peaceful societies’. Under this theme, Literacy Day 2023 will be celebrated at the global, regional, country, and local levels across the world. At the global level, a conference will be organized in person and online on Friday, 8 September 2023, in Paris, France. This global celebration will include the award ceremony of the UNESCO International Literacy Prizes to announce this year’s outstanding prizewinning programmes.

International Literacy Day 2023, Significance

UNESCO estimates that there are more than 770 million people who are considered illiterate across the world. The definition means that these individuals cannot read or write in at least one language. A vast majority of this figure is made up of women and nearly half of them are adults. Several low-income countries across Africa have literacy rates of less than 45 percent, as poverty and illiteracy often are correlated issues with the public education system in these areas also not being funded enough to support the national education burden. UNESCO has stated in its Global Education Monitoring report that governments need to take a greater burden for providing education to children and to treat the education pipeline as one system to eradicate illiteracy.

International Literacy Day 2023, History

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1966, at the 14th session of its General Conference, announced the event and the first International Literacy Day was celebrated in 1967. The day to mark International Literacy Day was set up by UNESCO on October 26, 1966, in the 14th session of UNESCO’s general conference, International Literacy Day was first celebrated in 1967. The purpose of this day is to emphasise the value of literacy to people, communities, and society as literacy is the path to a well-educated and efficient society.

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