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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Educationist Eyo Willie Writes On Functional Literacy As The World Celebrates International Literacy Day

As the world celebrates International Literacy Day, an Educationist, Author, and Literacy Campaigner, Eyo Willie wrote in this contribution.

International Literacy Day is celebrated on the 8th of September every year to raise awareness and concern for Literacy problems that exist within our own local communities, and globally.

It was founded by proclamation of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation  (UNESCO) in 1966 to remind the public of the importance of Literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights.

International Literacy Day brings ownership of the challenges of Literacy back home to local communities where Literacy begins.

This year’s celebration is anchored on the basic concept of Reading, Writing, and Numeracy skills.  UNESCO has evolved the concept of Literacy to a foundation for lifelong learning and functional Literacy.

In 1965, during the World Conference of Ministers on the eradication of Literacy in Tehran, Iran, the concept of functional Literacy was conceived as the base for development.

The United Nations declared 1990 as International Literacy year and the important role of Literacy was highlighted at the world Conference on Education for All.

In 1977, during the 5th International conference on Adult Learning, the importance of Adult Literacy was also highlighted, in Hamburg, Germany.

In the year 2000, at the world Education Forum held in Dakar Senegal, the Dakar Framework for action was adopted including goals such as meeting the basic learning requirements of youth and adults and cut adult illiteracy rate by 50%.

Willie Eyo in his Study

One may ask why International Literacy Day Celebration? The essence is not far-fetched.

Education is a fundamental human right, yet many are not given the opportunity to study, and some have dropped out of school. Most developing countries face substantial challenges when it comes to Literacy despite the improvements in basic education.

Other factors, such as population, socioeconomic status, gender inequality, poverty, corruption, emigration etc, also affect school enrolment and/or dropout while youth population struggle through Reading, Writing and Comprehending the current events that are shaping the world today.

No doubt Literacy is essential for human and social development, for it helps us develop the ability to learn new concepts and gain different skills, which are extremely useful in improving standards of living.

Literacy has a direct impact on health and income, helps create jobs, improves the economy of Nations, and promote equality, democracy and peace. It also helps individuals gain confidence, develop self-esteem, and work towards enhancing their quality of life.

Another question that may agitate our minds is “What Is The Scale of Literacy In The World?”

According to UNESCO, over 770 million adults, most of whom are women, cannot read and write, even though the world’s Literacy rate has improved over the past 50 years. According to world population review, the world Literacy rate for global population over 15 years of age is a little over 86%.

This year’s International Literacy Day has the Theme: “TRANSFORMING LITERACY  LEARNING SPACES.” It’s an opportunity to rethink the fundamental importance of Literacy Learning SPACES to build resilience and ensure quality, equitable and inclusive education for all.

As the world celebrates this all important day, I want to add my congratulations to the UNESCO family for their untiring efforts in driving the promotion of Literacy world-wide to an all times success.

Kudos to this great family.


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