I almost never remember on time: September 8 is International Literacy Day, a day designated by the United Nations to celebrate literacy.
From the Dag Hammerskjöld Library:
Literacy is a cause for celebration since there are now close to four billion literate people in the world. However, literacy for all – children, youth and adults – is still an unaccomplished goal and an ever moving target. A combination of ambitious goals, insufficient and parallel efforts, inadequate resources and strategies, and continued underestimation of the magnitude and complexity of the task accounts for this unmet goal. Lessons learnt over recent decades show that meeting the goal of universal literacy calls not only for more effective efforts but also for renewed political will and for doing things differently at all levels – locally, nationally and internationally.
In its resolution A/RES/56/116, the General Assembly proclaimed the ten year period beginning 1 January 2003 the United Nations Literacy Decade. In resolution A/RES/57/166, the Assembly welcomed the International Plan of Action for the Decade and decided that Unesco should take a coordinating role in activities undertaken at the international level within the framework of the Decade.
Sources listed by the Dag Hammerskjöld Library:
Links to UN and UN System sites:
- International Literacy Day
- UN Literacy Decade (2003-2012)
- UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014)
- Literacy for All
- Education for All
- Literacy Exchange – World Resources on Literacy
- EDUCAIDS – The Global Initiative on Education and HIV/AIDS
- Literacy rates – Achieve universal primary education (Millennium Development Goal 2)
- UN Education Portal
- UN Works for Women – Education
- UN Literacy Decade – Education for All (2003-2012)
- UN Cyberschoolbus
United Nations Development Programme
- Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education (Millennium Development Goals)
World Bank Group
- International Literacy Day
- Achieve universal primary education (Millennium Development Goal 2)
The additional resources links on this page are provided for information purposes only and do not necessarily represent an endorsement by the United Nations.
Even more resources:
- Take the annual Literacy Day Challenge from the Ontario Literacy Coalition
- International Reading Association has a slate of activities on the web and in Washington, D.C.
- Winnebago County Literacy Council (Wisconsin) has a list of things you can do
- Richard Bammer at The Reporter in Vacaville, California, worries about the 1 in 7 American adults who is functionally illiterate
- Swazi Observer notes that illiteracy affects women disproportionately, and that hammers families
- UNESCO talks about the power of women’s literacy
- Call for more volunteers to teach reading in the Orlando Sentinel
- In Monterey County, California, they celebrate literacy for the entire week
It’s fascinating to me that activities on International Literacy Day seem to be noted in out-of-the-way U.S. newspapers, and even there not much. Do Americans care about literacy, really?
I half expect the Texas State Board of Education to pass a resolution condeming literacy, since the UN worries about it.