Sunday, October 14, 2007

International Literacy Day
September 8 was proclaimed the International Literacy Day by UNESCO in November 17, 1965. It was first celebrated on 1966. Its aim is to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies. Celebrations are taking place around the world [1].
An estimated 781 million adults live without basic literacy skills, of whom two-thirds are women. In addition, approximately 103 million children have no access to school and are therefore not learning to read, write or count.
According to UNESCO's "Global Monitoring Report on Education for All (2006)" [2] [3], South and West Asia has the lowest regional adult literacy rate (58.6%), followed by sub-Saharan Africa (59.7%), and the Arab States (62.7%). Countries with the lowest literacy rates in the world are Burkina Faso (12.8%), Niger (14.4%) and Mali (19%). The report shows a clear connection between illiteracy and countries in severe poverty, and between illiteracy and prejudice against women.
The United Nations defines illiteracy as the inability to read and write a simple sentence in any language. So, these literacy rates refer only to basic, not advanced, literacy.
2006 celebration's theme is "Literacy sustains development". It emphasizes that literacy is not only a positive outcome of development processes but also a lever of change and an instrument for achieving further social progress. The 2006 celebration is combined with UNESCO's Literacy Initiative for Empowerment (LIFE) [4], launched on 2005, which seeks by 2015 to help reduce by half the rate of adult illiteracy in the world. LIFE is being implemented in 35 countries with a literacy rate of less than 50 per cent or a population of more than 10 million illiterates and it is designed to further the goals of the UN Literacy Decade (2003-2012) [5].

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