September 8 was proclaimed International Literacy Day by UNESCO on November 17, 1965. It was first celebrated in 1966. Its aim is to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies. On International Literacy Day each year, UNESCO reminds the international community of the status of literacy and adult learning globally. Celebrations take place around the world.
Since its foundation in 1946, UNESCO has been at the forefront of global literacy efforts and is dedicated to keeping literacy high on national, regional and international agendas.
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.
This is obviously tied to Millennium Development Goal No. 2. Universal Education with 67.4 million children not being provided an education.
While four billion people in the world are literate, there are still one in five adults or some 796 million adults lacking minimum literacy skills. About two-thirds of those are women, so Millennium Development Goal 3. Gender Equity is also a factor.
Why is literacy important?
Literacy is a human right, a tool of personal empowerment and a means for social and human development. Educational opportunities depend on literacy.Literacy is at the heart of basic education for all, and essential for eradicating poverty, reducing child mortality, curbing population growth, achieving gender equality and ensuring sustainable development, peace and democracy. There are good reasons why literacy is at the core of Education for All (EFA).
A good quality basic education equips pupils with literacy skills for life and further learning; literate parents are more likely to send their children to school; literate people are better able to access continuing educational opportunities; and literate societies are better geared to meet pressing development .
Plan is committed to high quality education for children and young people. This strategy focuses on Plan's 3 education priorities - improving equal access, enhancing quality and strengthening education governance.
Each strategic priority has a clear set of key actions designed to bring about change, not only for families, schools and communities, but also at national and international levels.
The strategy places particular emphasis on the need to eliminate gender discrimination, as well as focussing on other key challenges, such as the inclusion of marginalized children.
Education and literacy are the human capital basis for achieving the other 7 of the United Nations' Eight Goal Millennium Campaign. From September 17 to 19 we need to Make NOISE to let the United Nations Summit on the Millennium Development Goals, taking September 20 to 22, 2010, know of their importance and the importance of all the Millennium Development Goals.