International Literacy Day: A small step towards better future

UNESCO gears up for International Literacy Day, to be celebrated on Sept. 8 this year in Paris, the theme being "Literacy in a Digital World".

International Literacy Day
International Literacy Day Pixabay

To make the world a better place UNESCO declared Sept. 8 as "International Literacy Day", on Nov. 17, 1965. Leading Governments, stakeholders and organizations, come together on this day to fight the obstacles, hindering the spread of literacy and discuss the future prospects of their campaign. The day aims at accentuating the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and classes.

This year's theme for International Literacy Day is "Literacy in a Digital World". The event will highlight the difficulties associated with promoting literacy in digital world, where despite the progress, 750 million adults and 264 million out of school children lack basic literacy.

Post the massive world wars and the period of colonization that led to mankind's inevitable destruction, certain sections of the society, primarily the downtrodden, faced an eternal desertion like never before. These Third World countries were isolated in terms of economic instability, poverty, classlessness, social subjugation and illiteracy.

There were more reasons than one to keep the Third World nations away from education or to be precise, from basic literacy, for what can be a more powerful tool of revolt than education itself?

The Third World nations have progressed gradually and now are being considered as major uprising powers. Awareness and protests in the last few decades, centering the progress of these countries round the world have led International organizations such as UNESCO, charitable trusts, leading companies and associations to provide aid to the subdued nations. This little step acts as a huge boost to their advancement.

Literacy, traditionally consisting of basic ability to read and write, along with the basic usage of arithmetic, is absent in most of these nations. UNESCO's "Global Monitoring Report on Education for All (2006)" reveals South and West Asian countries, having the lowest adult literacy rate, followed by the African and Arab nations. Countries with lower literacy rate also struggle with poverty and discrimination against women.

The issue of literacy is an important feature under the UN's "Sustainable Development Goals" and the UN's "2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development." The two day event this year, starting from Sept.7, 2017 will be held at UNESCO's headquarters in Paris. It will focus on the necessary literacy abilities required to function in digitally mediated societies in the contemporary world.

Digital technologies are transforming life as a whole, restructuring the way people live, work, learn and gather information. Industrial production, management, and networking are now being controlled by technology. Technical advances are transforming the manpower business completely. Those lacking access to digital technologies are becoming incompetent, which in turn is making them marginalized in digitally aided societies.

UNESCO's "International Literacy Day" aims at spreading awareness regarding digital literacy which is of utmost requirement today similar to basic literacy, as a necessary skill to survive. UNESCO International Literacy Prizes award ceremony will also be held this year, rewarding the contribution of those in connection with this year's theme, as a significant target in Sustainable Development Goal 4.

The world has a darker side which is unaware of the atrocities being forced upon it. Mere demonstration becomes ill-defined unless the individuals are literate enough to comprehend the injustices in their daily lives. The harsh realities of Burkina Faso, Mali and Nigeria remains invisible to those living in a posh materialistic world. Help rule out illiteracy. Be a part of this initiative to enlighten the world as everyone deserves a brighter and better future.