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Let’s educate the world: International Literacy Day 2022

“Education is the most powerful weapon with which you can change the world”
Nelson Mandela​

The most basic definition of literacy is the ability to read and write. Literacy is considered an essential tool for us to be socially active citizens. According to statistics, more than 775 million adults lack basic literacy skills. Therefore, every year, International Literacy Day is celebrated on 8th September. This day will have a theme to remind the importance of literacy to people of all countries and cultures.

Before we get to the International Literacy Day 2022 theme, let us focus on how previous literacy days were celebrated . You will get to know what their theme was, and how they haven’t had that much impact on the globe!

Background on International Literacy Day

The International Literacy Day was first celebrated in 1967 by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). The purpose was to remind the global community of the importance of literacy for individuals and societies. Here are the past six world literacy days themes:

  • In 2021 the theme was Literacy For a Human-Centered Recovery: Narrowing the Digital Divide
  • In 2020, the world Literacy Day focused on Literacy Teaching and learning in the Covid Crisis
  • In 2019, the theme highlighted the meaning of literacy in a lifelong learning perspective and how it should focus on youth and adults 
  • In 2018, the theme was based on Literacy and skills development 
  • The 2017 theme focused on literacy in a digital world 
  • The 50th edition of International Literacy Day 2016 focused on Reading the Past and writing the future.

Regardless of all the efforts and themes made on the previous International Literacy days, still, more than 60 million children are out of school, and many more are intended to drop out. This shows how much work needs to be done in order to take these numbers to a low level.

International Literacy Day 2022 Theme

UNESCO’s International Literacy Day 2022 theme is “Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces”

For the past 3 years, the pandemic has disturbed the earth in almost all the sectors. If we talk numbers, more than 90 Percent of the world’s students are affected by the school closure due to lockdown. According to UNESCO, this year’s theme is focused on taking necessary steps to “rethink the fundamental importance of literacy learning spaces to build resilience”.

The massive shift for digital education with the COVID-19 pandemic increased access inequalities. This year’s World Literacy Day wants to address this gap, and also a broaden view of what is considered a literacy learning space. More than only the traditional school space, the family, the community, the workplace, and also digital learning spaces are literacy learning spaces. How is it possible to adapt these spaces for all? What are the best practices?

Reasons why we need International Literacy Day

Literacy is one of the essential tools for proper social/individual human development. It is true that with the basic skills set of literacy, the overall standard of living can be improved! While we are at the start of the 21st century, the world still has a big void that is created by illiteracy.

As mentioned before, more than 775 million (12 percent of the population) adults struggle with basic literacy; two-thirds of this figure are women. If we talk about countries, South Sudan and Afghanistan have the lowest adult literacy rate. This is about 27.0 Percent and 28.1 Percent respectively. On the other hand, Andora, Finland, and Greenland are among the few counties with a 100 Percent literacy rate.

While most countries are way ahead in terms of technology, science, and arts, there is still a part of this world that lacks basic literacy skills. That is why awareness and steps to limit this ratio are a need of the hour.

What can you do to celebrate International Literacy Day?

International Literacy Day marks the most significant event of the year that focuses on literacy. Here are some of the things you can do on this day to create more awareness:

- Donate books

Many school libraries are always in need of fresh reading material. The best way to donate books is to ask the school for a wish list with their preferred books. This way, students will be taken into consideration in the list of books. You can also visit the charitable organization and find out how many of them need books. This will surely make you a hero on International Literacy Day!

- Start a free library

You can gather your friends, family, and neighbors together and initiate a small lending library. It could be in your neighborhood and it would be ideal if it was available 24/7 with no late fees or fines. It is a perfect way to do something for the community and make people realize the importance of education!

- Create a Virtual Encyclopedia

As we are living in the modern world, everything involves technology, even education. One of the best ways to contribute on International Literacy Day is to adapt educational methods to the digital. You can create a virtual treasure house of books, journals, encyclopedias, and other educational resources that are available to every age group. 

Furthermore,  you could also host daily educational virtual events. This will allow you to share knowledge to everyone and encourage them to read and write.

Importance of International Literacy Day

Here are a few reasons why we need literacy and why it is important to all of us:

  • Many studies have shown that giving your mind a daily workout of reading/writing makes the human cells healthy as we age. It also reduces the chances of Dementia, among other diseases later in life.
  • The lack of basic literacy skills prevents a person from participating in social engagements.
  • The ability to read and write allows people to express their feelings, thoughts, and ideas with others more clearly.
  • Knowing how to read and write are critical skills when you apply for a job.

Bottom Line

Through education, we can build better communities and participate in nation-building activities. And International Literacy Day 2022 is the best opportunity to reimagine future literacy teaching and learning within and beyond the context of the pandemic.

Let’s strive for education and a better world to live in by hosting a celebratory International Literacy Day 2022 online event on SCOOCS to create awareness!

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