The International Literacy Day is celebrated annually on the 8th of September. It is an opportunity for governments, civil society, and other stakeholders to highlight improvements in the world literacy rates, and reflect on the remaining literacy challenges. The issue of literacy is a key component of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The International Literacy Day 2021 will focus on “Literacy for a human-centred recovery: Narrowing the digital divide” and will explore how literacy can contribute to building a solid foundation for a human-centred recovery, with a special focus on the interplay of literacy and digital skills required by non-literate youth and adults. It will also explore what makes technology-enabled literacy learning inclusive and meaningful to leave no one behind. This day is an opportunity to reimagine future literacy teaching and learning, within and beyond the context of the pandemic.
These challenging times and crisis have disrupted the learning of children, young people and adults at an unprecedented scale. It has also magnified the pre-existing inequalities in access to meaningful literacy learning opportunities, disproportionally affecting 773 million non-literate young people and adults. Youth and adult literacy were absent in many initial national response plans, while numerous literacy programmes have been forced to halt their usual modes of operation.
We, at the World Assembly of Youth (WAY), believe that literacy is a passage to an untouchable facet of the world. Literacy is a basic human right, and also a fundamental building block for learning as well as an individual empowerment tool. It is the catalyst for social and global progress as we continue to grow. On this day we, at WAY, would give an opportunity to look into the role of educators, as well as formulate effective policies, systems, governance, and measures that can support educators and learning.
The pandemic, however, is a reminder of the critical importance of literacy. Beyond its intrinsic importance as part of the right to education, literacy empowers individuals and improves their lives by expanding their capabilities to choose a kind of life they can value. It is also a driver for sustainable development. Literacy is an integral part of education and lifelong learning premised on humanism as defined by the Sustainable Development Goal 4. Literacy, therefore, is central to a human-centred recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.
We also would like reiterate our encouragement to all young people to actively volunteer in community services or other related programmes which have a purpose in educating illiterate youth and children around them. So, let us work together and build a literate society!