International Literacy Day 2013: Literacies for the 21st Century

    | September 9, 2013

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    The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will be celebrating International Literacy Day on September 8, 2013. For over 40 years, UNESCO has been marking this occasion by reminding the international community that literacy is a human right and the foundation of all learning.

    This year’s Day is dedicated to “literacies for the 21st century.” This theme highlights the need to achieve basic literacy skills for all, and to equip everyone with more advanced literacy skills as part of lifelong learning.

    According to new data released by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, literacy rates for adults and youth continue to rise. However, 774 million people over the age of 15 cannot read or write – and two-thirds of them are women. Among youth, 123 million are illiterate, of whom 76 million are female. Ten of the eleven countries in which adult literacy rates are below 50% are in sub-Saharan Africa.

    Explore the data through this link:

    Irina Bokova is the Director General of UNESCO. She said: “Literacy is much more than an educational priority – it is the ultimate investment in the future and the first step towards all the new forms of literacy required in the twenty-first century. We wish to see a century where every child is able to read and to use this skill to gain autonomy.”

    Read more about International Literacy Day at: , where there are resources and stories available to download, including testimonies from Senegalese villages about the benefits of literacy: