Especially dedicated to the cause of literacy, the World Literacy Day is observed with the aim to spread the message of literacy among children and youth living across the world.
Since its inception, this day became a special occasion for literacy awareness and many educational programmes featured the particular day. But in the year 1990, the United Nations General Assembly provided a boost to global literacy by announcing that year as International Literacy Year. The special year signified the ongoing commitment of the world community to recognise and support literacy as a key to personal development and to the socio-economic progress of nations.
Since 2000, for spreading literacy across the world in large scale various governments of the world have launched four initiatives in cooperation with several agencies of the United Nations. These four initiatives are:
Education for all; the millennium development goals; the United Nations literacy decade and; the United Nations decade of education for sustainable development.
Education for All (EFA): The world education forum organised on 26-28 April 2000 in Dakar, adopted the Dakar framework for action, ’Education for All: Meeting our collective commitments’, which sets six goals with a target date of 2015.
The millennium development goals (MDGs) : In 2000, the UN General Assembly adopted the millennium declaration as a way of expressing common worldwide priorities in development, which governments and international agencies would work towards focussing on eight goals with a target date of 2015.
The United Nations literacy decade (UNLD): The UN General Assembly launched the literacy decade from 2003 to 2012 to mobilise the resources and political will to meet the learning needs of illiterate people living around the world.
The United Nations decade of education of sustainable development (DESD): The UN General Assembly called for the decade of education for sustainable development from 2005 to 2014 to mobilise efforts on the widespread global implementation of education for the same.
Besides above mentioned programmes, several other educational missions have been launched by the governments of world to make the people literate. In India too, Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, Adult Education Programme, District Primary Education Programme and many such initiatives have been introduced by the government to make the people literate.
Of course, such literacy programmes have become successful, but still a fair portion of country’s population in illiterate. According to stats of United Nations there are about four billion literate people across the world. However, making the whole world literate is still an unaccomplished goal.
The fact is that without making the whole world literate we cannot expect all round development. Most importantly, our country is lagging behind other developing countries in the field of education. We blame the government for the dwindling literacy rate in the country, but we hardly care for teaching our illiterate neighbours. On this special day, let us vow to make our country as well as the world literate. It is possible if we begin on our own by sparing some time for uneducated people living around us.