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  • Writer's pictureMs. Tracey Campbell, Canada

UN International Literacy Day is Today

Updated: Sep 15, 2023

UN International Literacy Day – September 08, 2023



Let’s celebrate International Literacy Day on Friday, September 8, 2023. This year’s International Literacy Day will be celebrated worldwide under the theme, Promoting literacy for a world in transition: Building the foundation for sustainable and peaceful societies. 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 launched a campaign to re-energize literacy and essential skills under the umbrella of 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. In low- and middle-income countries, the share of 10-year-old children who could not read and understand a simple text with comprehension has increased from 57 per cent in 2019 to an estimated 70 per cent in 2022.


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. We collectively can do better!

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, literacy practitioners, special needs teachers, adult educators, 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. Literacy levels have been proven to decrease if youth and adults do not practice these skills on a daily basis. Spread the world and celebrate… #InternationalLiteracyDay, #UNESCOLiteracyDay, #UNCareerandLivelihoodDay


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