September 8, 2016, marks the 50th anniversary of International Literacy Day. International Literacy Day, which takes place every year to promote worldwide literacy, is organized by United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organizations (UNESCO).
In the past 50 years, a lot of progress has been made toward a more literate world. According to UNESCO, 24% of youth ages 15-24 couldn’t read or write 50 years ago. Today, that number is less than 10%. In Northern Africa, three times as many 15-24 year olds are literate, and the literacy rates for that same age group has doubled in Southern Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
While we’ve made great strides in promoting equitable education, we still have a long way to go. There are still more than 758 million adults struggling with low literacy that could use life-changing education.
The ProLiteracy team is working hard to achieve Goal #4 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.” By the year 2030, Goal #4 aims to, among other things, achieve literacy and numeracy for all youth and a substantial portion of adults, and increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills for employment and entrepreneurship. It’s an aggressive goal, but if we work together we can make it happen.
You can help by downloading the toolkit and spreading the word about adult literacy in the United States and around the world. You can also help raise adult literacy rates and improve lives worldwide by making a donation and becoming an advocate.
You can view and share other materials, including posters and infographics, on UNESCO’s website. Follow the International Literacy Day conversation on Twitter using the hashtags #LiteracyDay and #50ILD.