International Literacy Day: History, Significance, 2020 Theme

The International Literacy Day 2020 theme will focus on the changes and challenges in learning during the coronavirus pandemic.

At the 14th session of UNESCO’s general conference on 8th September 1966, the International Literacy Day was celebrated the first time annually to remind the public of the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights. The commemoration was declared in an effort to advance the literacy agenda throughout communities worldwide for a more sustainable society.

According to recent consensus, literally challenges continue to persist with at least 773 million adults worldwide lacking basic literacy skills today. Of those, 60.7 million children are out of school or are rare attendees. According to the UNESCO’s ‘Global Monitoring Report on Education for All’ (2006), South Asia has the lowest regional adult literacy rate, at 58.6%, and the causes for this illiteracy range from severe poverty and the prejudice against women.

International Literacy Day 2020 Theme

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

This year the International Literacy Day 2020 focuses on Literacy teaching and learning in the COVID-19 crisis and beyond with a focus on the role of educators and changing pedagogies. The theme will highlight literacy learning in a lifelong perspective and will mostly focus on youth and adults. The COVID-19 crisis has brought a stark reminder of the existing gap of literacy among youth and adults.  The gap which already existed in pre-COVID times has further negatively impacted the youth and adults. With most classes and lectures being conducted online, there is hope. However, the real question of where the education process stands in the future remains unknown.

This International Literacy Day 2020, UNESCO, in a virtual conference, aims 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.

International Literacy Day 2020:

Minister of Educations calls for achieving a 100% literacy

On the occasion, the Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu said, “Literacy plays an important role in empowering & transforming the lives of individuals and society. On International Literacy Day, let’s resolve to create a self-reliant, self-confident, and competent Bharat that is literate, educated, and empowered.”

Minister of Education, Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank took to Twitter to promise towards achieving a 100% literacy by complying with the reforms within the National Education Policy 2020.

Meanwhile, In India, the overall literacy rate is 77.7 percent. In rural areas, the literacy rate is 73.5 percent compared to 87.7 percent in urban areas of the country. At the all-India level, the male literacy rate is higher at 84.7 percent compared to 70.3 percent among women.

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