- International Literacy Day
September 8was proclaimed International Literacy Day by UNESCOon November 17, 1965. It was first celebrated in 1966. Its aim is to highlight the importance of literacyto individuals, communities and societies. On International Literacy Day each year, UNESCO reminds the international community of the status of literacy and adult learning globally. Celebrations take place around the world [http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&ned=us&ie=UTF-8&auth=DQAAAHsAAAAmUBcG0hYyVtVdbLQKIXWcN6UhaAd1_Ea0gDyIeII_YNQQa5TtkfNR-_5RXpIyGn3m5rHpM5msz6fMDK_t09DYrzeOfgtxpNQxswkxI1Mi5of5FMyt4SE_hv8mWTfYMWB14pPZaltaozlQ75ptKx9Qcr3U558Jd2tt3Ef170y4dg&q=%22International+Literacy+Day%22&btnG=Search+News] .
Some 774 million adults lack minimum literacy skills; one in five adults is still not literate and two-thirds of them are women; 72.1 million children are out-of-school and many more attend irregularly or drop out.
According to UNESCO’s "Global Monitoring Report on Education for All (2006)" [http://portal.unesco.org/education/en/ev.php-URL_ID=43009&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html] [http://www.uis.unesco.org/ev.php?URL_ID=5204&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201] , South and
West Asiahas the lowest regional adult literacy rate (58.6%), followed by sub-Saharan Africa(59.7%), and the Arab States(62.7%). Countries with the lowest literacy rates in the world are Burkina Faso(12.8%), Niger(14.4%) and Mali(19%). The report shows a clear connection between illiteracy and countries in severe poverty, and between illiteracy and prejudice against women.
The celebration's theme for 2007 and 2008 is “Literacy and Health”. This is also the thematic emphasis of the 2007-2008 biennium of the United Nations Literacy Decade [http://portal.unesco.org/education/en/ev.php-URL_ID=53811&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html] . In particular, International Literacy Day 2008 has a strong emphasis on Literacy and Epidemics with a focus on communicable diseases such as HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria, some of the world's most important public health concerns.
To raise public awareness of the extraordinary value of the written word and of the necessity to promote a literate society, the following writers are supporting UNESCO through the Writers for Literacy Initiative [http://portal.unesco.org/education/en/ev.php-URL_ID=53833&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html] :
Margaret Atwood, Paul Auster, Philippe Claudel, Paulo Coelho, Philippe Delerm, Fatou Diome, Chahdortt Djavann, Nadine Gordimer, Amitav Ghosh, Marc Levy, Alberto Manguel, Anna Moi, Scott Momaday, Toni Morrison, Erik Orsenna, Gisèle Pineau, El Tayeb Salih, Francisco Jose Sionil, Wole Soyinka, Amy Tan, Miklos Vamos, Abdourahman Waberi, Wei Wei, Banana Yoshimoto.
UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy
The UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy was established in 2005 through the generosity of the Government of the People’s Republic of China in honour of the great Chinese scholar Confucius. The UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy recognizes the activities of outstanding individuals, governments or governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in literacy serving rural adults and out-of-school youth, particularly women and girls. Each of the Prizes consists of US$20,000, a medal and a diploma. Furthermore, the Confucius Prize offers a study visit to literacy project sites in China.
UNESCO International Reading Association Literacy Prize
The UNESCO International Reading Association Literacy Prize was founded in 1979. The Prize rewards the services of institutions, organizations or individuals displaying outstanding merit and achieving particularly effective results in the fight for literacy. It also raises public awareness for literacy programmes already in progress. The Prize is funded by the [International Reading Association (IRA)] [http://www.reading.org] , an international non-governmental organization which maintains official relations with UNESCO. It consists of a sum of US$20,000, a silver medal and a certificate for the prizewinner.
UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize
The UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize was created in 1989 through the generosity of the Government of the Republic of Korea.The Prize honours the outstanding contribution made to literacy over 500 years ago by King Sejong, who created the native Korean alphabet 'Hangul' which is still a valuable model and reference for the world today. The UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize rewards the activities of governments or governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) displaying merit and achieving particularly effective results in contributing to the promotion of literacy. It gives special consideration to the creation, development and dissemination of mother-tongue languages in developing countries.
List of countries by literacy rate
* [http://portal.unesco.org/education/en/ev.php-URL_ID=53299&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html International Literacy Day] official site
* [http://www.unesco.org/education/literacy UNESCO's Literacy Portal]
* [http://education.guardian.co.uk/specialreports/readtheworld/story/0,,365747,00.html Gestures not enough to teach the world] , by
Larry Elliottand Victoria Brittain, September 8, 2000, The Guardian
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