International Literacy Day: ICESCO Calls for Conducting Revolution in Literacy and Expanding its Scope to Include Digital Skills
8 September 2021
In celebration of the International Literacy Day, on September 8 of every year, the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) reaffirms the pivotal role of education in empowering people and shaping the future and stresses the need to ensure the right to education for all and the importance of literacy as an essential pillar of lifelong learning. As part of its new vision, ICESCO attaches greater attention to literacy as it significantly contributes to promoting sustainable development, improving living and health conditions, and ensuring human welfare, social cohesion, and peaceful coexistence.
Illiteracy would remain a challenge as long as the aspired literacy level is achieved. Globally, 773 million young people and adults lack basic literacy skills, while 617 million children and youth do not have minimum skills of reading, writing, and arithmetic. Inequalities in access to literacy programs are persistent and multidimensional, in addition to the weak participation of vulnerable groups.
The celebration of International Literacy Day this year comes in light of the continuing repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing closure of formal and informal educational institutions, which threaten the achievements made in the field of literacy during the past decades and exacerbate inequalities in access to literacy opportunities.
Believing that illiteracy is more costly than education, and being aware of the urgent need to build illiteracy-free societies, ICESCO reiterates its call to ensure the right to education for all and eradicate illiteracy, particularly among girls and women, who are at the heart of ICESCO’s interest given its proclamation of 2021 as the Year of Women.
To achieve a real development in the field of literacy from the perspective of lifelong learning in today’s digital world, ICESCO calls for a real revolution in formulas, curricula, and methods of literacy, and expanding the scope of literacy to include digital, living and professional skills, continuous learning skills, creativity, and sound citizenship. ICESCO also calls for maximizing the use of information and communication technology as a major effective tool in combating illiteracy and spreading digital skills.
In recognition of the successful experiences in this field, ICESCO announces three prizes to be granted to the pilot initiatives of NGOs and civil society organizations in the field of literacy among girls and women, in the Organization’s three working languages (Arabic, English, and French).
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