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  • Writer's pictureMs. Tracey Campbell, Canada

UN International Literacy Day - 08 September SDGs/Global Goal 4



Let’s celebrate United Nations International Literacy Day on September 8.


Literacy is critical to economic development as well as individual and community well-being. Effective literacy skills open doors to more educational and employment opportunities so that people are able to pull themselves out of poverty and chronic underemployment. In Canada, we are launching these skills as part of our Skills for Success campaign. We believe these are everyday skills needed for work, learning and life. These nine skills include reading, writing, numeracy, communication, problem-solving, creativity and innovation, adaptability and collaboration.


Since 1967, this annual celebration has brought attention to people in the world who do not know how to read or write. Despite the progress being made, 1 in 4 children in low-income countries cannot read or write a basic sentence, and 102 million youth lack basic literacy skills, with women representing nearly two thirds of the world's illiterate.


Every September 8th, UNESCO holds an awards ceremony in Paris in which prizes are given to individuals and organisations who work hard to increase literacy around the world. International Literacy Day supports goal 4 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and it can be argued in part supports the remaining 16 SDGs as well – we need to work towards increasing world literacy levels to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.


Career pathways may include individuals who work as literacy tutors, essential skills coordinators, teachers and volunteers who mentor individuals and families. Building and maintaining our literacy levels requires lifelong learning – we all can play a role in helping ourselves and others build these foundational skills.



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