Saturday, September 6, 2014

Schools : International Literacy Day 2014

Literacy is a key lever of change and a practical tool of empowerment on each of the three main pillars of sustainable development: economic development, social development and environmental protection.  

Former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Anna

For over 40 years now, UNESCO has been celebrating International Literacy Day by reminding the international community that literacy is a human right and the foundation of all learning. 

The theme of International Literacy Day 2014 is “Literacy and Sustainable Development”.  Literacy is one of the key elements needed to promote sustainable development, as it empowers people so that they can make the right decisions in the areas of economic growth, social development and environmental integration. Literacy is a basis for lifelong learning and plays a crucial foundational role in the creation of sustainable, prosperous and peaceful societies. 

"Literacy skills developed from a basic to advanced level throughout life are part of broader competencies required for critical thinking, the sense of responsibility, participatory governance, sustainable consumption and lifestyles, ecological behaviours, biodiversity protection, poverty reduction, and disaster risk reduction."

This year’s International Literacy Day will be celebrated worldwide. A main global celebration will take place in Dhaka, where the Government of Bangladesh in cooperation with UNESCO will organize the International Conference on “Girls’ and women’s literacy and education: Foundations for sustainable development and the awarding of UNESCO Literacy Prizes” in support for the UN Secretary General’s Global Education First Initiative (GEFI).

Credits : UNESCO


Literacy is a human right, a tool of personal empowerment and a means for social and human development. Educational opportunities depend on literacy.

There are still 781 million adults and 126 million youths who cannot read or write a simple sentence - numbers that weigh heavily on efforts to alleviate poverty.

Watch the UNESCO 2014 Literacy in the World infographic here:

International Literacy Day is just one way UNESCO strives to increase literacy around the world. 
Literacy is at the heart of basic education for all, and essential for eradicating poverty, reducing child mortality, curbing population growth, achieving gender equality and ensuring sustainable development, peace and democracy. There are good reasons why literacy is at the core of Education for All (EFA).


A good quality basic education equips pupils with literacy skills for life and further learning; literate parents are more likely to send their children to school; literate people are better able to access continuing educational opportunities; and literate societies are better geared to meet pressing development.

Some ideas:

  • Use any increased flexibility offered in the curriculum to respond to issues as they arise.
  • Provide space for teachers and students to discuss and reflect on these issues.
  • Pupils get a lot of their information about global issues from the media so help them to interrogate this information critically and consider a range of perspectives.
NASA in parternaship with the International Reading Association for the celebration of International Literacy Day have interesting activities for # DL14

Credits : NASA / IRA
  • Help your students "Lift Off to Literacy" by engaging them in an extra 60 seconds of literacy activities for 60 days;
  • Inspire students to build an out-of-this-world literacy habit;
  • Display the video NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren talking about the important role that literacy has played in his life; why NASA is partnering with the International Reading Association for the celebration of International Day of Literacy today September 8, 2014;
  • Find how you can join him in the mission to Lift Off to Literacy;
  • Join the global celebration, and be sure to let the International Day of Literacy know how your students are celebrating; 
  • Share pictures and videos to FacebookTwitter, and Instagram using the official hashtag #ILD14

Find further ideas and activities for different levels or curricula on my post International Literacy Day 2012 in School 


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