International Literacy Day 

#GS2 #International #Literacy #Education 

The United Nations marks International Literacy Day — “to remind the international community of the importance of literacy for individuals, communities and societies, and the need for intensified efforts towards more literate societies” — on September 8. 

What is ‘International Literacy Day’? 

  • The day aims at raising awareness and reminding people of the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights. 
  • The theme for International Literacy Day 2020 is “Literacy teaching and learning in the COVID-19 crisis and beyond”. 
  • The Literacy Day this year will reflect on the innovative and effective pedagogies that can be used in youth and adult literacy programmes to face the pandemic and beyond. 


  • UNESCO proclaimed September 8 as International Literacy Day at its General Conference in 1966, which stated, “The hundreds of millions of illiterate adults still existing in the world, make it essential to change national education policies.” 
  • It emphasised the need for the real emancipation of the people and added that education systems across the world should provide the training required for children and working adults so that they can learn to read and write. 
  • Following the UNESCO General conference, the first International Literacy Day was celebrated on September 8, 1967. 
  • Literacy goals are a key part of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

Literacy in India  

  • In India, as per the last census in 2011, a total of 74.04 per cent are literate, an increase of 9.2 per cent from the last decade (2001-11). The country will take another 50 years to achieve universal literacy, which is 2060, as per UNESCO. 
  • According to the report ‘Household Social Consumption: Education in India as part of 75th round of National Sample Survey – from July 2017 to June 2018, which is based on National Statistical Office (NSO) data, Kerala is the most literate state in the country, with 96.2 per cent literacy, while Andhra Pradesh features at the bottom with a rate of 66.4 per cent. 
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