United Nations
Information Centre | Nepal
Message from Mr Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO on The Occasion of International Literacy Day
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The annual celebration of International Literacy Day on 8 September is an
opportunity to remind the world of the importance of literacy for individuals,
families, communities and whole societies. It is also an occasion to remember
that literacy remains a right that is denied to about a fifth of the world’s adult population. The world’s literacy challenge is to translate our recognition of the importance of literacy into practical effect so that hope is given to the millions of women, men and children who cannot read or write even their own names. Considerable achievements have been made in many poor countries. The Global Monitoring Report on Education for All (2006) shows that enrolments in primary education have risen in both sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia, with almost 20 million new students in each region. Around 47 countries have achieved universal primary education and 20 others are expected to achieve this goal by 2015. Girls primary enrollments have likewise increased
rapidly as gender and educational quality measures have been included in
national educational plans. The achievement of universal primary education
(UPE) is vital in order to staunch the flow of young people entering adulthood
without a good command of basic literacy skills. Progress has also been attained through adult literacy and non-formal education programmes in many countries but tremendous challenges still remain. An estimated 771 million adults live without basic literacy skills and two-thirds of them are women. Over 100 million children are still not enrolled in primary school and more than half of them are girls. Moreover, the sustainability of literacy is not assured as drop-out rates remain high. Globally, adult literacy is allocated only 1% of the national education budget. By their actions, governments and aid agencies show that they do not assign sufficient priority to literacy programmes for adults and youth. If the objectives of the United Nations
Literacy Decade(2003-2012) and the Education for All literacy goal are to be met, pledges have to be translated to concrete action.
UNESCO ,   (2006 )
Type / Script:
Press Release in English
Thematic Group:
 UNESCO : Educational, Scientific and Cultural
11.01.00  -  Educational Policy And Planning
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