Literacy and Pandemic

Literacy and Pandemic

by:Viraaj

International Literacy Day occurs on September 8th, founded by the proclamation of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization or UNESCO in 1996 “to remind the public of the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights.” UNESCO continues to play a leading role in improving global literacy and promoting International Literacy Day with governments, communities, etc.

The day brings ownership of the challenges of illiteracy in the local community and the globe, starting with one person at a time, and is celebrated to promote human attention towards literacy and know their rights for social and human development. As food is important to be alive and success the same literacy is also important. 

It is a necessary tool to eradicate poverty, lowering child mortality, controlling population growth, attaining gender equality, etc. It is correctly said that literacy could raise the family status. Therefore, this day is celebrated to encourage the people towards getting continuous education and understand their responsibility for the family, society, and the country.

Through themes and several programs, it aims to highlight the role of literacy and skills development in the context of a changing world. For this year, the theme for International Literacy Day is “Literacy for a human-centered recovery: Narrowing the digital divide”.

International Literacy Day (ILD) 2021 will explore how literacy can contribute to building a solid foundation for a human-centered recovery, with a special focus on the interplay of literacy and digital skills required by non-literate youth and adults. It will also explore what makes technology-enabled literacy learning inclusive and meaningful to leave no one behind. By doing so, ILD2021 will be an opportunity to reimagine future literacy teaching and learning, within and beyond the context of the pandemic.

We’ve talked a lot about International Literacy Day, but what exactly is literacy?

Well, the Miriam-Webster Dictionary defines literacy as the quality or state of being literate, educated, and being able to read.” But this ability is often taken for granted because we’ve been reading and writing most of our life. Being literate makes it that much easier for us to navigate the world, do tasks like reading a restaurant menu, a road sign, an exam, or even a novel without it being a blockade for us.

Literacy goals are a key part of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The SDG agenda contains 17 goals and 169 targets, adopted in 2015 to build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were adopted in 2000. The SDGs are meant to be achieved by 2030, and the UN Resolution of which they are a part is called “The 2030 Agenda”.

These SDGs include ending poverty of all forms, ending world hunger, achieving food security for all, and improving nutrition for the people, promoting sustainable agriculture and its practices, and ensuring that everyone gets an inclusive, equitable, and quality education among others set by the United Nations.

Every International Literacy Day, organizations and individuals take charge and use their literacy to encourage and assist those who are facing difficulties on how to read and write. Students and employed people alike, volunteer to tutor children in the community, donating their books to libraries, and a student’s tuition and learning are sponsored to launch their life-long success. 

Literacy in the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupting the learning of children, young people, and adults alike,  magnifying the pre-existing inequalities in access to meaningful literacy and learning opportunities, disproportionally affecting almost 800 million non-literate young people and adults. Youth and adult literacy were absent in many initial national response plans, while numerous literacy programs have been forced to halt their usual modes of operation.

Even with the pandemic negatively affecting the world, efforts have been made to find alternative ways to ensure the continuity of learning, including distance and online learning, is used in combination with in-person learning.  Access to literacy learning opportunities, however, has not been evenly distributed. 

The rapid shift to distance learning also highlighted the persistent digital divide in terms of connectivity, infrastructure, and the ability to engage with technology, as well as disparities in other services such as access to electricity, which has limited learning options.   

However, the pandemic has shown us the importance of literacy. Beyond its intrinsic importance as part of the right to education, literacy empowers individuals and improves their lives by expanding their capabilities to choose a kind of life they can value. 

ILD 2021 explores the contribution of literacy to building a solid foundation for a human-centered recovery, with a special focus on combining literacy and digital skills that are required by non-literate youth and adults. It explores what makes technology-enabled literacy learning inclusive and meaningful to leave no one behind. In doing so, this year is an opportunity to reimagine future literacy teaching and learning, within and beyond the context of the pandemic.

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