International Literacy Day
Since 1967, International Literacy Day (ILD) celebrations have taken place annually around the world to remind the public of the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights, and to advance the literacy agenda towards a more literate and sustainable society. Despite progress made, literacy challenges persist with at least 773 million adults worldwide lacking basic literacy skills today.
MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL
"At a time when we need to reinvent a world of hope, literacy is more important than ever. On this International Day, I thus invite all those involved in education to redouble their investments and mobilize all their resources to unleash the potential of each individual in the service of a shared world."
— Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director General, on the occasion of International Literacy Day
CELEBRATIONS OF THE DAY IN 2020
International Literacy Day (ILD) 2020 will focus on Literacy teaching and learning in the COVID-19 crisis and beyond with a focus on the role of educators and changing pedagogies. The theme will highlight literacy learning in a lifelong learning perspective and therefore mainly focus on youth and adults. The recent Covid-19 crisis has been a stark reminder of the existing gap between policy discourse and reality: a gap that already existed in the pre-Covid-19 era and is negatively affecting the learning of youth and adults who have no or low literacy skills and therefore tend to face multiple disadvantages. During Covid-19, in many countries, adult literacy programmes were absent in the initial education response plans, so the majority of adult literacy programmes that did exist were suspended with just a few courses continuing virtually, through TV and radio, or in open air spaces. What is the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on youth and adult literacy educators and teaching and learning? What are the lessons learnt? How can we effectively position youth and adult literacy learning in global and national responses and in strategies for the recovery and resilience-building phase?
By exploring these questions, International Literacy Day 2020 will provide an opportunity to reflect on and discuss how innovative and effective pedagogies and teaching methodologies can be used in youth and adult literacy programmes to face the pandemic and beyond. The Day will also give an opportunity to analyse the role of educators, as well as effective policies, systems, governance and measures that can support educators and learning. Through a virtual conference, UNESCO will initiate a collective global discussion to reimagine the literacy teaching and learning of youth and adults in the post-Covid-19 era towards the achievement of the SDG4.
- Concept note and agenda for the global event on 8 September
- Follow the event live: English - French - Spanish
- Background paper on 'youth and adult literacy in the time of COVID-19: impacts and revelations'
- List of ILD events around the world
- 2020 laureates of UNESCO International Literacy Prizes
- Press release