Established in 1967 and celebrated worldwide, International Literacy Day underlines the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights. This day serves as a reminder of the transformative power of words, knowledge, and the ability to read and write, which is crucial in improving lives, societies, and communities.
Despite steady progress worldwide, UNESCO estimates that literacy challenges persist in low and middle-income countries, with a significant increase of ten-year-olds who could not read and understand a simple text in 2022. The number increased by 13 per cent from 2019 to 2022.
This year's International Youth Day will be celebrated under the theme "Promoting literacy for a world in transition: Building the foundation for sustainable and peaceful societies." It presents an opportunity to progress towards the realisation of the SDG4 on education and lifelong learning. In addition, it provides a platform to reflect on the role of literacy in building more peaceful, fair, sustainable, and inclusive societies.
In an era of rapid technological advancements, changing economies and evolving social dynamics, literacy is a key driver for equipping individuals with the tools they need to navigate this changing landscape. This endeavour entails the relationship between literacy and other areas of development.
This year, a conference will be held in person and online on Friday, 8 September 2023, in Paris, France. This event will bring together educators and policymakers about the current state of literacy and how to ensure it continues to catalyse positive changes.
Here at Better Internet for Kids (BIK), literacy in the digital sphere is one of our primary concerns. We recognise the importance of using technology to enhance learning and literacy opportunities. To explore the topic further, we recommend checking our resources:
- In May 2022, the European Commission adopted a new European strategy for a Better Internet for Kids (BIK+) to improve age-appropriate digital services and ensure 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 schools and educators across Europe.
- The BIK Teacher corner is a section created for teachers, educators and other adults who work with children and young people. It is your 'one-stop shop' for learning and teaching about digital citizenship and online safety. Here, you will find free information, advice and suggested resources to empower you to educate and support youth to safely and positively navigate their digital world.
- 1,2,3...click! is an educational tool to promote the development of toddlers' digital media skills (tablets, smartphones) (3-6 years) in families. The tool aims to support parents in identifying digital media uses and practices and suggest beneficial digital media practices. Produced by the Belgian Safer Internet Centre, the resource is available in French.