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What is International Literacy Day?

Photo of a classroom showing a young student completing on a worksheet at their desk with a pencil.

8th September marks International Literacy Day each year.

International Literacy Day was first declared in 1966 by UNESCO, a United Nations agency aimed at promoting peace and cooperation through education, science and culture. Its goal was to draw attention to the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies – a goal still celebrated decades later.

Almost 800 million people around the world lack minimum literacy skills and approximately 60 million children are not enrolled in education. Today we raise awareness of this issue and work together to achieve full global literacy and make education available to everyone.

Education has been on the forefront of conversation this past year due to the drastic effect Covid-19 had on learning. Pupils who were used to attending their lessons in classrooms each day suddenly could not.

Online lessons became the norm for many, but the switch was not suited for the millions of households that do not have access to the internet, further widening the education gap.

We do not yet know the full impact the pandemic has had on global literacy, but it has reiterated the importance of working towards securing accessible education for all.

As well as raising awareness, International Literacy Day is used to express an appreciation for literacy and language through fun activities. In schools, children are asked to think about their books and complete tasks based on them. Fundraising events, such as secondhand book sales and book-themed bake-offs, can also be used to raise funds for literacy charities on the day.

What are you doing to mark International Literacy Day this year?

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