International Literacy Day: Literacy and Peace

Manila Bulletin, September 7, 2011 | Go to article overview

International Literacy Day: Literacy and Peace


MANILA, Philippines - Adopted in 1965 by the United Nations, Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), International Literacy Day was first celebrated on September 8, 1966. Since then, the day has been observed annually, each year with a different focus.

It has become a special occasion to heighten literacy awareness and draw attention to educational programs that can increase literacy rates worldwide. In 1990, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the years as International Literacy Year, "marking the ongoing commitment of the world community to boost and support literacy as a key to personal progress and to the socio-economic development of nations."

With the theme "Literacy and Peace," this year's International Literacy Day celebration seeks to remind the global community of the status of literacy and adult learning around the world. Figures from the UNESCO reveal that despite tremendous and varied efforts, literacy remains an elusive target in many parts of the world. Some 796 million adults lack the basic minimum literacy skills, which means that about one in six adults is still not literate.

Literacy has been described as a means of "personal liberation and development- a method of achieving faculties to develop (one's) economic status and general wellbeing and inculcating values of national integration, conservation of surroundings, and observance of standard family tradition. …

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