Global, 8 September 2023 (TDI): September 8th is designated as World Literacy Day by UNESCO, with this year’s theme being “Promoting literacy for a world in transition.

Building the foundation for sustainable and peaceful societies.” Literacy is recognized as a cornerstone for sustainable and peaceful societies.

International Literacy Day (ILD) has been observed globally since 1967 to emphasize the importance of literacy, dignity, and human rights. It aims to promote literacy and advance societies toward higher levels of literacy and sustainability.

Despite global progress, literacy challenges persist, with 763 million individuals lacking essential literacy skills as of 2020. Recent crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and conflicts, have exacerbated these issues.

Every year, the UNESCO International Literacy Prizes recognize excellence and innovation in the field of literacy globally, promoting effective and innovative practices while encouraging vibrant literate societies.

This year’s theme centers on advancing literacy in a world undergoing transformation and laying the groundwork for peaceful and sustainable societies.

In line with this theme, UNESCO International Literacy Day is celebrated, worldwide, spanning global, regional, national, and local levels. At the global level, both in-person and online events were held on Friday, September 8, 2023, in Paris, France.

This global celebration encompasses the presentation of the UNESCO International Literacy Prizes, announcing the outstanding prizewinning programs for this year.

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The two prestigious UNESCO International Literacy Prizes are as follows:

The UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize, established in 1989 with support from the Republic of Korea, recognizes three winners and emphasizes literacy development based on native languages.

Each recipient receives a medal, a diploma, and a monetary award of US$20,000.

The UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy, which acknowledges three winners was established in 2005 with support from the People’s Republic of China.

This prize applauds efforts in functional literacy, particularly in rural areas and among out-of-school youth, incorporating technology. Each awardee is presented with a medal, a diploma, and a monetary award of US$30,000.

On the other hand, UN Women highlighted the role of women stating, “Education should not be considered a privilege, it is a fundamental right of every individual.” However, at the current rate of progress, an alarming 110 million girls will continue to be denied access to education, leaving them vulnerable to violence and exploitation.

According to UN Women, the gender disparity in power and leadership roles persists, and if progress continues at its current pace, the upcoming generation of women will continue to devote an average of 2.3 more hours per day to unpaid caregiving and domestic tasks than men.

Furthermore, women’s representation in managerial roles at workplaces is projected to fall short of gender parity even by 2050. While strides have been made in girls’ education, completion rates still fall short of universal standards.

Pakistan’s Pledge for Education on World Literacy Day

On World Literacy Day, Sadiq Sanjrani, Chairman of the Senate of Pakistan, reaffirms Pakistan’s dedication to education, with a particular focus on initiatives aimed at enrolling out-of-school children.

The Education Parliamentarians Caucus represents a bipartisan endeavor to push for educational reforms and advocate for enhanced access to quality education.

In addition, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party, expresses concern over the three million children in Pakistan who are not attending school. He views this as a challenge necessitating government intervention.

Bilawal underscores the significance of literacy rates for sustainable development, highlighting factors such as inflation, unemployment, poverty, and the impact of natural disasters on the education sector.