September 08, 2021

Observing International Literacy Day: September 8th

Observing International Literacy Day: September 8th

International Literacy Day is marked on September 8 every year. In 2021, International Literacy Day focuses on reimagining what future literacy teaching and learning can look like, both whilst the pandemic lasts, and beyond. “International Literacy Day (ILD) 2021 will explore how literacy can contribute to building a solid foundation for a human-centered recovery, with a special focus on the interplay of literacy and digital skills required by non-literate youth and adults. It will also explore what makes technology-enabled literacy learning inclusive and meaningful to leave no one behind,” UNESCO said.

ILD was first celebrated in 1967 and it aims to emphasize the importance of literacy. IZA World of Labor authors Gemma Cherry and Anna Vignoles have also found that even basic skills in literacy and numeracy are essential for success in the labor market. “In many countries a significant proportion of the population still fails to gain basic skills in literacy and numeracy at school, which has negative consequences on future earnings and employment. And even if the skills of school leavers are improved, a sizable minority of the workforce would still have poor skills for many years to come. […] Policymakers need robust evidence in order to devise interventions that genuinely improve basic skills, not just of new school leavers entering the market, but also of the existing workforce,” they write in their article.

Literacy goals are a key part of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, according to the Indian Express. There are 17 goals and 169 targets within the SDG agenda. These were agreed on in 2015 and are meant to build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were adopted in 2000. The SDG goals are planned to be achieved by 2030 and they are also a part of the 2030 agenda, which concerns reducing unemployment, amongst other goals.

Read Gemma Cherry and Anna Vignoles’ article What is the economic value of literacy and numeracy?