International Literacy Day 2020: History, Significance

International Literacy Day 2020: Every year on 8th September, International Literacy Day is observed across the globe with the motive of wiping out illiteracy throughout from the globe. Literacy is a treasure for which we must be grateful and spread it to those who are not having this treasure. Literacy could be defined as the quality or state of being literate: educated, able to read and write. There are people living and working in every community who are unable to read a book, a restaurant menu, a road sign, an instruction manual, a voting ballot, a prescription bottle label, or a cereal box. First International Literacy Day was celebrated in 1967 which was first conceived in 1965. Read the complete article to know about the history, significance of this day and how International Literacy Day 2020 will be celebrated.

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History of International Literacy Day

Since illiteracy is a global problem since years even after a progress in literacy rate is made in the last 50 years. Till now more than 700 millions of adults are unable to read and write throughout the globe. In 1965, it was first discussed at the “World Conference of Ministers of Education on the Eradication of Illiteracy,” held in Tehran, Iran where it was conceived for the first time that a day must be observed as an International Literacy Day across the world. In 1966, UNESCO took the lead and declared that 8th September will be celebrated as International Literacy Day, with the primary purpose being “to remind the international community with the importance of literacy for individuals, communities and societies, and there is a need for intensified efforts towards more literate societies.” The global community later on accepted the challenge of ending illiteracy and participated in the very first International Literacy Day which was first celebrated on 8th September 1967.

Significance of International Literacy Day

International Literacy Day gives us reason to thank our parents, grandparents, siblings, teachers and others who invested their time to help us learn to read and write when we were young. It is a problem that needs to be solved and deserves our attention and participation. Some problems seems to be big, however, not impossible to solve. Illiteracy is such a problem that can be overcome when we all together make an efforts beginning from our community. This day is celebrated in an effort to combat literacy problems and to provide a quality education to everyone.

Through the course of the years, the United Nations (UN) has given this day special themes keeping in line with the current scenario of that particular year. Ranging from themes like ‘Literacy and Health’, ‘Literacy and Epidemics’, which focused on communicable diseases such as HIV, to ‘Literacy and Empowerment’ and ‘Literacy and Peace’ a few years later.

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International Literacy Day 2020

The theme for the year 2020 has been kept in line with the threat of the global Covid-19 pandemic, and it focuses on “Literacy teaching and learning in the Covid-19 crisis and beyond.” This year’s celebration is going to give highlights on “the role of educators and changing civilization.”

Illiteracy Rate in India

The male literacy rate in the country is much higher at 84.7% as compared to female literacy rate of 70.3%. Below is the table for state-wise literacy rate in India and how much important it is to focus on literacy. 

State Overall Literacy Rate(Urban + Rural) (Male & Female)
Andhra Pradesh 66.4
Assam 85.9
Bihar 70.9
Chhattisgarh 77.3
Delhi 88.7
Gujarat 82.4
Haryana 80.4
Himachal Pradesh 86.6
Jammu & Kashmir 77.3
Jharkhand 74.3
Karnataka 77.2
Kerala 96.2
Madhya Pradesh 73.7
Maharashtra 84.8
Odisha 77.3
Punjab 83.7
Rajasthan 69.7
Tamil Nadu 82.9
Telangana 72.8
Uttarakhand 87.6
Uttar Pradesh 73.0
West Bengal 80.5
All India 77.7

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