Today is International Literacy Day, an annual observance aimed at focusing attention on the importance of literacy around the world. There are events in schools and communities around the globe today to mark the occasion, including a United Nations conference in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
The theme of International Literacy Day 2014 (ILD 2014) is “Literacy and Sustainable Development.” According to UNESCO, “[l]iteracy is one of the key elements needed to promote sustainable development, as it empowers people so that they can make the right decisions in the areas of economic growth, social development and environmental integration.”
This UNESCO page has links to some of the more prominent ILD 2014 events. Here are a couple of other interesting ILD 2014-related announcements and news items that have come across my desk this morning:
- In the U.K., the House of Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee has published a report examining the impact of illiteracy and innumeracy in England, calling on the government to launch a national campaign to address the issue, which they say is undermining the UK’s economic performance.
- At an ILD 2014 event in India, President Pranab Mukherjee called for the “complete eradication” of illiteracy from the country, with a particular focus on improving literacy rates among the most disadvantaged sections of Indian society.
- The Philippine Daily Inquirer has marked the day with an interesting story about a woman in the Philippines who made a decision to re-engage with education after being belittled by her employer.
A few interesting opinion pieces:
- Lifelong Learning for Literacy and Sustainable Development – Worrel Hibbert, Executive Director of the Jamaican Foundation for Lifelong Learning, writes about Jamaica’s implementation of a new High School Diploma Equivalency (HSDE) programme for adult learners. (More from Jamaica here.)
- How Adult Literacy Is Transforming a Village – Craig and Marc Kielburger, co-founders of the international charity, Free The Children, write about an adult literacy class in the south-central China village of Waer, where residents are still recovering from the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.
- An editorial from the Gaston Gazette (North Carolina) argues that “before job-ready education can begin, a student and prospective worker must be able to read.”
International Literacy Day celebrations are generally more prominent outside of the Unites States, although many adult literacy programs mark the day with events or announcements. For example, in New York, LiteracyCNY has posted a 52-year retrospective of their work in the community.
Finally, those of you who are fans of infographics, here is the official UNESCO ILD 2014 infographic (click on it to see the entire thing):
This is just a teaser—there will be hundreds of events and surely more news about ILD 2014 as the day progresses. I don’t have time to track it all, but I encourage you poke around the inter webs today and see what else is out there. Find anything interesting? Want to promote an event in your community? Feel free to post it in the comments.
UPDATE 9/8/14 2:30 PM: Had some time during my lunch break to poke around for some additional stories. Here is the best of what I found:
- Canada has used the occasion to announce the recipients of the 10th annual Council of the Federation Literacy Award. The award celebrates outstanding achievement, innovative practice and excellence in literacy.
- More on the U.K. report cited above:
- Meanwhile, here in the U.S., Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed a proclamation declaring today Georgia Literacy Day.
- WXXI, a public radio station in Rochester, New York, has marked the occasion by broadcasting a story about a 24-year-old Literacy Volunteers of Rochester student who has been working with LVR tutors for the past year to improve her reading and math skills.
Some additional opinion pieces:
- Jackie Carroll, who works for a South African adult education provider, touts her country’s new General Education and Training Certificate for Adults (GETCA) as the answer to her country’s adult literacy problem. It’s interesting that re-working high school level credentials is an issue elsewhere in the world (see article above about the Philipines) and not just in the U.S.
- An interesting editorial from Tanzania calls for rekindling the spirit of UNESCO’s original literacy campaigns that marked the organization’s founding in 1946.
- Literacy = Equitable, Comprehensive and Lasting Development – An article by Aaron Benavot, writing for the The Global Partnership for Education’s blog.