First established in 1967, International Literacy Day (ILD) celebrations take place annually around the globe to emphasise the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights, and to advance the literacy agenda towards a more literate and sustainable society.
UNESCO estimates that, at the global level, 771 million people – most of whom are women – are still not capable to read and write. And in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic alone, 31 per cent of students couldn’t be reached by digital and broadcast learning programmes, thus heavily impairing their learning opportunities.
Another lesson taught by the pandemic is that literacy learning outside of formal education spaces, within a community, family or a workplace has grown significantly over the past few years, characterised by several challenges and fundamental changes. Even though online learning provided an opportunity to tackle these challenges, it worsened educational inequalities, impacting the most marginalised. Embracing a variety of different literacy learning spaces becomes then pivotal to meet the needs of a fast-changing population.
As Director-General of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay stated, “school closures and disruptions caused by the pandemic have likely driven learning losses and drop-outs. This is especially true for vulnerable populations. In response to this urgent situation, UNESCO and its Member States are redoubling their efforts to ensure that progress made in recent decades is not reversed, but reinforced.”
Internationally, Literacy Day will be celebrated with a two-day hybrid event organised on 8 and 9 September 2022 in Côte d’Ivoire. Here on the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) portal, the importance of literacy in the digital sphere is one of our main concerns. To explore the topic further, we recommend checking out the following:
- In May 2022, the European the European Commission adopted a new European strategy for a Better Internet for Kids (BIK+), to improve age-appropriate digital services and to ensure that every child is protected, empowered and respected online. As part of the commitments of the new strategy, the Commission will promote the exchange of good practices for national curricula on media literacy between Member States and among schools and educators across Europe, and organise media literacy campaigns targeting children, teachers, parents and carers to develop awareness-raising tools and activities on the risks facing children as young consumers. Read more about the BIK+ strategy.
- 1,2,3...click! is an educational tool to promote the development of digital media skills (tablets, smartphones) of toddlers (3-6 years) in families. The goal of the tool is to support parents in the identification of digital media uses and practices and suggest beneficial digital media practices. Produced by the Belgian Safer Internet Centre, the resource is available in French.
- ABC is an internet alphabet dictionary which helps to support parents and inexperienced internet users. Produced by the Greek Safer Internet Centre, it contains around 70 pages of definitions and explanations and hosts also safety tips and useful trivia related to the terms. The resource is available in Greek.
- Back in April 2021, the European Schoolnet Academy launched the MOOC “Digital literacy and online safety: How the pandemic tested our skills”. It focuses on how disinformation, fake news and other online frauds have flourished during the pandemic, and how to effectively recognise them.
Learn more about International Literacy Day on UNESCO’s website, and follow the celebrations on social media with the hashtag #LiteracyDay.