International Literacy Day 2023: Fostering Literacy for Sustainable and Peaceful Societies

Each year, on September 8, the world observes International Literacy Day, a global initiative championed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). This day is dedicated to advocating for literacy as a fundamental human right, a catalyst for human dignity, and a critical pillar for nurturing sustainable and peaceful societies. The 2023 theme, “Promoting literacy for a world in transition: Building the foundation for sustainable and peaceful societies,” underscores the pivotal role literacy plays in addressing the challenges of our changing world. This year’s celebration encompasses events at the global, regional, national, and local levels, culminating in a prestigious award ceremony in Paris, France, on September 8, 2023. UNESCO’s International Literacy Prizes will be awarded to recognize outstanding literacy programs. Despite progress, UNESCO estimates that over 770 million people remain illiterate worldwide, with a significant majority being women and adults. Many low-income countries in Africa face literacy rates below 45%, underscoring the link between poverty, insufficient educational funding, and illiteracy. UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring report emphasizes the need for governments to shoulder the responsibility of providing quality education and to view the education system as a unified pipeline to eradicate illiteracy. International Literacy Day originated from UNESCO’s 1966 announcement during the 14th session of its General Conference and was first celebrated in 1967. This day serves as a constant reminder of the value of literacy in empowering individuals, communities, and societies, paving the way for a well-educated and productive world.