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Recognizing International Literacy Day

ACEI Recognizes International Literacy Day on 8 September 2013

For almost 50 years, September 8 has been celebrated as International Literacy Day, proclaimed as such by UNESCO on November 17, 1965, in recognition of the importance of literacy to individuals, communities, and societies.

Literacy is a fundamental human right and the foundation for lifelong learning. It is essential to social and human development in its ability to transform lives and facilitate full participation in society. Low levels of literacy skills are associated with greater unemployment rates, lower income, increased health risks, and disengagement from the greater society. This is enhanced by the proliferation and presence of information and communication technologies in almost every sphere of modern life. Sadly, opportunities for acquiring basic literacy skills are not equitable and are especially limited among socially excluded groups. While the Education for All (EFA) initiative seeks to address inequity in access, there are deeper challenges regarding the relevance and quality of literacy skills that are being delivered.

Technological advances have led to a growing demand for skills beyond the traditional reading, writing, and mathematics, and involve softer skills like ability to comprehend, analyze, and communicate complex information and situations. The question now remains whether the opportunities to access "basic literacy skills" ensure acquisition of these cumulative aspects of literacy.

UNESCO's Global Monitoring Report (GMR) provides annual updates on the status of global literacy. The Report assesses the global progress toward eliminating illiteracy and identifies best practices and required reforms to address the challenges that persist.