Sep. 8 International Literacy Day

2/5 Min

Since 1967, International Literacy Day (ILD) celebrations have taken place annually around the world to remind the public of the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights and to advance the literacy agenda toward a more literate and sustainable society. 

Despite progress made, literacy challenges persist, with at least 771 million young people and adults lacking basic literacy skills today.

Celebrations in 2022

Rapidly changing global context took a new meaning over the past years, hampering the progress of global literary efforts. In the aftermath of the pandemic, nearly 24 million learners might never return to formal education, out of which 11 million are projected to be girls and young women. To ensure no one is left behind, we need to enrich and transform the existing learning spaces through an integrated approach and enable literacy learning in the perspective of lifelong learning.

This year’s International Literacy Day will be celebrated worldwide under the theme, Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces, and will be an opportunity to rethink the fundamental importance of literacy learning spaces to build resilience and ensure quality, equitable, and inclusive education for all.

Literacy and Basic Skills

The mandate of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) is to promote lifelong learning with a focus on adult and continuing education, literacy, and non-formal basic education. In addition, UIL contributes to UNESCO’s priority focus on literacy by strengthening national capacities to scale up quality, inclusive, and gender-sensitive literacy programs.

UIL’s Main Activities in Literacy and Basic Skills

UIL’s Literacy and Basic Skills activities focus on gender equality, Africa, and youth:

  1. Promoting holistic, integrated, sector-wide, and cross-sectoral approaches to literacy through advocacy, networking, and partnership activities
  2. Facilitating policy dialogue with relevant actors in the Member States and assisting them in integrating literacy and basic skills into national education policies and development strategies to support peace, social cohesion, and sustainable development
  3. Conducting action-oriented and policy-driven research and disseminating the results to improve the quality and relevance of literacy policies and programs. UIL focuses in particular on action research that addresses the following issues:
    • Assessing learning outcomes in literacy programs
    • Developing empowering approaches that promote inclusion and gender equality
    • Reaching vulnerable youth
    • Promoting diversity through multilingual and multicultural approaches
    • Achieving relevance through integrated and intergenerational approaches
    • Ensuring quality through professional development, enhanced curricula and materials, and enriched literate environments that incorporate information and communications technologies (ICTs)
  4. Making available evidence-based knowledge and examples of innovative literacy and numeracy policies and programs through the Effective Literacy and Numeracy Practices Database (LitBase)
  5. Developing the capacities of literacy stakeholders to improve policies, program design, management, monitoring, and evaluation. Strengthened capacities in the Member States will be used to:
    • Integrate youth and adult literacy and basic education into national recognition, validation, and accreditation frameworks and/or mechanisms
    • Apply strategies and tools that provide access to and promote the successful completion of basic (skills) education, particularly for disadvantaged young people and adults