Week of September 04 – September 08, 2021
On September 8th, people, governments, and organizations all around the world will celebrate International Literacy Day. Literacy is a great cause to celebrate, but also an important time to recognize that there are still many people, in Canada, and around the world who are illiterate for various reasons and that we continue efforts to ensure literacy is enjoyed by all.
In its resolution, A/RES/56/116, the General Assembly of the United Nations (U.N.), proclaimed the ten period beginning January, 01, 2003 as the United Nations Literacy Decade. In Resolution A/RES/57/166, the Assembly welcomed the International Plan of Action for the Decade and decided that the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), should accept a coordinating role in activities performed at the international level established in the Plan of Action.
Societies around the world continue to enter the information age and participate in global economy, however, 860 million adults are illiterate and over 100 million children do not have access to school. In many countries, children and adults who do attend school or participate in other programmes, do not meet the required levels to be considered literate by today’s standards. Overall, Canada performs well internationally, in terms of education and skill. However, there are still Canadians who are illiterate and lack other essential skill competencies needed for full participation in the global economy and society.
Literacy isn’t just about reading a book or newspaper; it can take many forms including: paper, computer screens, the television, posters and signs. Those of us who are literate, take it for granted, but those who are not, are often excluded from our highly communicative world and live in shame and with embarrassment. Illiteracy also makes it more difficult for people to find employment, hinders their own personal development, as well as their ability to fully participate as full and active citizens in all areas of society. It’s these reasons why literacy is a concern for all of us.
On International Literacy Day, governments, business and labour groups, non-governmental organizations, communities, and individuals are strongly encouraged to recognize the importance not only of this day, but to also have an active role in improving literacy across Canada and beyond. I encourage you to learn more about this day and to find out what activities have been planned in your community to bring awareness to this most important issue, both here at home and abroad.