International Literacy Day: The Power of Literacy

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On November 17, 1965, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) proclaimed September 8 every year as International Literacy Day to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities, and nations. International Literacy Day was first celebrated in 1966. Years later, the UN General Assembly proclaimed the period 2003–2013 as the UN Literacy Decade, and directed the UNESCO to coordinate activities undertaken on the international level.For several years now, the UNESCO has awarded international literacy prizes in recognition of excellence and innovation in literacy worldwide. This year’s UNESCO International Literacy Prizes, which focused on the theme “Literacy and Empowerment,’’ were given to four innovative projects in Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, India, and the Philippines. UNESCO awarded its Confucius Prize for Literacy to the Municipal Literacy Coordinating Council, of Agoo, La Union, for its Continuing Education and Lifelong Learning Program which makes available a wide variety of education and training opportunities to the entire population, including the most needy.Apart from being a human right, literacy is “a tool of personal empowerment and a means for social and human development. …