International Literacy Day 2021: Theme, History, Significance and Key Facts

International Literacy Day (ILD) 2021: Since 1967, it is celebrated annually on September 8 across the world to make the public aware of the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights. Let us read more about the day.
International Literacy Day
International Literacy Day

International Literacy Day (ILD) 2021: The crisis of COVID-19 has disturbed the learning of children, young people, and adults on an unusual scale. At least 773 million young people and adults lacking literacy skills today. Even in the time of global crisis, efforts are being made to find alternatives ways to ensure the continuity of learning, like distance learning, etc.

Literacy is a driver of sustainable development. It empowers individuals and improves their living standards. Sustainable Development Goal 4 defines literacy as an integral part of education and lifelong learning premised on humanism. Also, literacy is important to a human-centred recovery from COVID-19.

International Literacy Day (ILD) is celebrated on September 8 to spread awareness about the importance of literacy for individuals, communities, and societies and the need for intensified efforts towards more literate societies. It is necessary to raise awareness in the world of literary issues that are faced by people and also to endorse campaigns that help in increasing literacy for all people.

International Literacy Day 2021: Theme

The theme for 2021 is “Literacy for a human-centred recovery: Narrowing the digital divide”. 

The theme for 2020 was  “Literacy teaching and learning in the COVID-19 crisis and beyond." It highlights especially the role of educators and changing pedagogies. 

The theme for 2019 was 'Literacy and Multilingualism'. We know that with the progress still challenges about literacy persist. It is distributed unevenly across countries and populations. Therefore, it is necessary to focus on linguistic diversity in education and literacy development to overcome the challenges and to achieve Sustainable Development Goals.

The theme for 2018 was 'Literacy and Skills Development' to explore integrated approaches that simultaneously support the development of literacy and skills, to improve the lives and work of people and contribute to equitable and sustainable societies. This day also focuses on the various skills and competencies required for employment, careers, and livelihoods, particularly technical and vocational skills along with transferable and digital skills.

We all also know that International Literacy Day was adopted as part of the UN's sustainable development goals program in 2015 and Goal 4 has one of its targets ensuring all young people achieve literacy and numeracy basically those adults who lack these skills and opportunities are also provided so that they can acquire them.

International Literacy Day 2021: Quotes, Wishes, Messages, Greetings, Poems, and more

International Literacy Day: History

On 26 October 1966, UNESCO proclaimed 8 September as International Literacy Day to combat worldwide issues of illiteracy. The purpose was not only to combat illiteracy but also to promote literacy as a tool that could empower individuals as well as whole communities. Due to this many people around the globe will get employment opportunities and will improve their lives. Do you know that the idea of an International Literacy Day was born at the World Conference of Ministers of Education on the eradication of illiteracy held in Tehran in 1965? This day was also adopted as part of the UN's sustainable development goals program in 2015. The issue of literacy is a key component of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals and the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Importance of International Literacy Day

Importance of International Literacy day


UNESCO has been central to improve literacy worldwide and that is why promotes International Literacy Day in partnership with governments, charities, local communities, and experts in the field worldwide. By adopting various themes every year wants to turn attention to literacy in all its forms in a changing world. No doubt without literacy we can't make changes in the world and also can't improve our living being.
According to UNESCO "Literacy is the best remedy" which is the key to the right for all to an education. Also, we all know that UNESCO's sustainable development goals mobilise efforts to eradicate poverty and inequalities across the world, and improving literacy rates are an integral element. UNESCO also announces International Literacy awards; these are prestigious prizes recognising excellence and innovation submissions on the "Literacy and skills development" theme for 2018. With this further, the importance of this day will be enhanced and promotes awareness and relevance of literacy and adult learning.

Why is International Literacy Day celebrated?

This day is celebrated to promote human attention towards literacy and know their rights for social and human development. Literacy is a necessary tool to eradicate poverty, lowering child mortality, controlling population growth, attaining gender equality, etc. It is correctly said that literacy has the ability to raise the family status. Therefore, this day is celebrated to encourage the people towards getting continuous education and understand their responsibility for the family, society, and the country.

UNESCO continues to play a leading role in improving global literacy and promoting International Literacy Day with governments, communities, etc. Through themes and several programmes, it aims to highlight the role of literacy and skills development in the context of a changing world.


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