The first international Literacy Day was celebrated internationally on September 8, 1966.
In a statement for the upcoming Literacy Day 2017, the UNESCO Director-General underlined that “the world has changed– since 1966, but our determination to provide every woman and man with the skills, capacities and opportunities to become everything they wish, in dignity and respect, remains as firm as ever. Literacy is a foundation to build a more sustainable future for all”.
At least 750 million adults and 264 million out-of-school children across the world still lack basic literacy skills.
This results in an exclusion of low-literate and low-skilled youth and adults from full participation in their communities and societies.
This year, the 51. International Literacy Day will be celebrated under the theme of ‘Literacy in a digital world’.
The Afghan National Association for Adult Education (ANAFAE) and DVV International are actively involved to prepare the International Literacy in Afghanistan. Both will organize a national conference “Mobilize for Literacy Education”. Unfortunately, youth literacy in Afghanistan is low (62 percent for young men, 32 percent for young women). General literacy rate is only at 36 % and we can observe a dramatic underfunding in this important area of essential education.
Effective and more powerful approaches are needed to strengthen the literacy education and to make literacy education a higher priority in the country. The conference will bring together about 80 people of governmental institutions, multi- and bilateral organizations, NGOs, private sectors, communities, teachers, learners, experts and literacy practitioners from the fields.
Mobilizing for Literacy Education is an important task in Afghanistan. Improving literacy rates and life opportunities require combined efforts of the Ministry of Education, other government institutions, the support and participation of the communities, of the private sector, of Civil Society and non-governmental actors.
During the Literacy day a National Mobilization Concept for Literacy will be launched, a new and ambitious initiative to make all major stakeholders pull together to promote literacy as a foundation for lifelong learning.
Literacy and numeracy are crucial and essential skills and competencies for performing daily tasks, leading healthy lives, finding work, engaging in social activities. These essential skills form the basis for many other learning and training opportunities, for basic, formal, vocational and higher education. Strong literacy skills have great potentials to enhance people’s ability to create new life opportunities.
Literacy learning and adult education are crucial conditions for the stability and the prosperous development of Afghanistan, a fact that is all too often neglected in international interventions that should support Afghanistan. Literacy is a priority on the development agenda in Afghanistan. But the reality is very different. We can observe a dramatic underfunding in this important area of essential education.
As part of the Literacy Celebration activities the literacy prize will be awarded to 20 representatives of outstanding initiatives and achievements in the field of literacy education by support of ANAFAE and UNESCO. The First Lady “the Literacy Ambassador” of Afghanistan, Bebe Gul, will also be honored by National Literacy Department of Afghanistan.
Moreover, the Adult Learning Centres of ANAFAE in Mazar-e-Sharif, Pul-e-Khumri, Taliqan, Kunduz, Faizabad, Sar-e-Pul, Sheberghan, Maimana, Charikar, and Aybak will support the literacy day events in the provinces.
At international level, a special two-day opening event will be organized at UNESCO’s Headquarters in Paris on 7 and 8 September, 2017. Katarina Popovic, the Secretary General of the International Council for Adult Education (ICAE) is taking part in this conference.