> International Literacy Day
8th of September 2021
International Literacy Day (IDL) was established by UNESCO on the 8th of September 1966, and since then, it is celebrated every year to establish the significance of literacy for everyone around the world. Their aim is “to remind the public of the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights”.
An education for people to become literate is a basic right for rich and poor alike, however, there are still over 773 million people without basic reading and writing skills in the world right now, two thirds of whom are women (UNESCO). The countries with the highest illiteracy rates are the poorest in the world, some of which are in South Asia. Families often have tough decisions to make when letting their children go to school, as there may not even have food to eat or water to drink. Education becomes less of a priority, and because of this, continues the vicious cycle of poverty. In certain countries like Pakistan, India and Bangladesh there are huge gender gaps between male and females attending school. Women’s education is not perceived as important or necessary due to their social norms. The celebration of International Literacy Day aims to educate people and help them recognise the value of literacy for everyone.
With COVID-19, every school has faced some form of disruption to their ability to educate and teach effectively. The more digitally developed countries managed to benefit from online technology to impart lessons, but there is a great digital divide, where it is very clear that poorer countries are being left even further behind in the world.
Organisations like READ Foundation work hard, not only to raise awareness of the importance of an education for all, but actually building schools, supporting children’s education, encouraging parents to send their children to school, training teachers and providing resources, including IT and science equipment. So far they manage over 390 schools and educated over 112,000 students. In Pakistan and Kashmir, the highest achieving students come from a READ Foundation school. This is a testament to their hard work and commitment to ensuring everyone has access to a valuable education.