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International Literacy Day- "Literacy for a human-centred recovery: Narrowing the digital divide"

People often say that the wheel is the most important invention in the history of mankind. A tool that transcends our thoughts and realities is crawling towards the graveyard as we race towards technology, and it still has that selfless act to accompany our online examination. It doesn't discriminate on the colour of the skin or the wealth, gender or race. Nations fight and companies merge but with always a pen on their desk. The not so noticeable character of our daily lives has had a fortune of delivering power and education for eternity in the most selfless manner. 

“International Literacy Day” was started in 1966 by UNESCO to remind us all around the world that literacy for everyone is very important. On 26 October 1966, it was announced by the United Nations (UN) that from 8 September onwards “International Literacy Day” will be celebrated. Every year this day is celebrated on the 8th of September. This year's theme of ‘International Literacy Day’ is, Literacy for a human-centred recovery: Narrowing the digital divide.”

According to UNESCO figures, only 34% of males are literate and 14% of women can only read and write. And with this 773 million adults and young people don’t have basic literacy skills. 

Our lives are far beyond our thoughts' horizon. Unexplored and yet brings out curiosity from within. Where did it all come from? From being a naked caveman to a civilised human being, what brought that change? 

The basic need of a social environment. The truth is that man cannot exist as a single individual. Generations of evolution send out messages on the beauty of life. To understand what was there and what lies beyond, he needed to socialize with his allies. To understand, analyse and respond, he evolved further. It's not a feather in the hat. It's the hat itself. To teach himself and the world around him his knowledge, their rights and everyone's life.

Importance of Literacy

Education is not only till college, but it's also in every walk of life and this is needed for our human progress. I believe taking knowledge and imparting the same together can build a strong society around us with a thoughtful mind-set. It's thumbs up to how we all switched to Digital Education and gave a tough fight to this Covid-19. Moving ahead with Digitalisation can achieve many milestones.

Literacy is the ability to read, write and comprehend information, achieved through proper and correct education. Education is the initiator of knowledge, the tool for one's life, and the backbone of all communication. Literacy today is as important for our existence as the air around us. It is the genesis of all understanding and logic, that is the foundation of every human's life. As educated and privileged people, it is our responsibility to broaden the reach of proper education to every individual.

The Literacy, learning and education gap is widening every single day. We need to take action within our small community setups to bridge the gap.

We must ask for an education system that teaches us inclusivity (equality, sex education, etc) and treats us all the same, regardless of our sexual orientation, language, mental and physical health. For proper care, services, and pay for our educators. We undermine how important education is in changing the world. So, this International Literacy Day, let's demand our policymakers to put education at the centre. A nation full of educated people is a superpower!

Literacy rate of states

A report by National Statistical Office (NSO) 2020 survey shows that, Kerala has once again emerged as the most literate state in the country with 96.2 per cent literacy, and Andhra Pradesh at the bottom with a 66.4 per cent literacy rate.

Delhi has the second-best literacy rate at 88.7 per cent. Along with this Uttarakhand at 87.6 per cent, Himachal Pradesh at 86.6 per cent and Assam at 85.9 per cent.

On the other hand, after Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan is the second-worst performer with 69.7 per cent, besides this Bihar is at 70.9 per cent, Telangana at 72.8 per cent, Madhya Pradesh at 73.7 per cent and Uttar Pradesh at 73 per cent.

A report by the World Literacy Foundation showed that almost 800 million people worldwide cannot read or write because of poverty as they cannot afford education or educate themselves and their children. They can’t even perform simple tasks like reading medicine names while taking it. We all know literacy can end poverty. 

Coming to a dreaded time, even in the 21st century in this so-called creation Magnifique, there exists a man, a community, or perhaps a whole country which has not yet gained a bare minimum of essential communication, which points them at illiteracy. But that's not the only case because it's a simple yet tough technicality. Sinking deeper, the problem seeps to not just being an etiquette but bringing a more romantic meaning of thoughts and expressions, what market man. Amidst the pandemic, let's not forget that it's not just about living, it's about gaining knowledge on life, why and who you are living as!

Education has opened doors for me and widened my life with new possibilities and experiences which otherwise I would have been denied. But there are still many out there who are either denied education or have no access to it. Literacy is a fundamental human right. But the literary gap is still alarmingly high which leads to inequality and exclusion of vulnerable populations in growth and development opportunities.

What can we do about it?

There are simple things one can do to spread literacy.

  • By celebrating literacy in your own life by spending quality time reading and encouraging others in your life to read. 

  • Sponsor a child's education.

  • Reading, recording and writing exams for visually challenged students.

  • Donate books.

  • Volunteering with NGOs that work towards literacy.

  • Working with local community centres.

  • Conducting free online sessions imparting your field-specific knowledge and expertise focusing on the audience with minimal access to such information.

  • Encourage adult learning by motivating and supporting them to learn.

  • Spreading awareness about the importance of learning and reading.

We sometimes forget how privileged we are to receive the education we did, to sit in classrooms, and be able to study online during a pandemic. Our education system is far from good, but still, there are so many people out there who lack access to basic education. In a world where information is power, we must ask for education for all. That it reaches and teaches us all. Nobody should be left behind.

Benefits of reading some are:

  • Ease depression

  • Improve memory 

  • Improve imagination 

  • Encourages Empathy

  • Improve Sleep 

  • Increase knowledge 

New literacy strategy for young and adult people by UNESCO

These are the new five-year UNESCO Strategy for Youth and Adult Literacy (2020-2025):

  • To develop national literacy policies and strategies.

  • Addressing the learning needs of women and girls.

  • Expand digital technologies across the world to access and improve learning outcomes.

  • Monitor progress on assessing literacy skills and programmes. 

Just like everyone, we had two choices: to complain or to change. We chose the second option and we think that made the difference. Because with the help of education you can change the world. The ability to read and write is an important aspect of everyone’s life. Many don’t have the privilege to learn these skills and many lack the knowledge too! On this day, let us ensure we learn something new every day. It can be a new word, a new sentence or even a language.

Let’s widen our skills!

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Tags: pandemic Education Delhi Covid-19 Uttarakhand United Nations Kerala Literacy rate UNESCO 8 September International Literacy Day National Statistical Office Andhra Pradesh


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