Awareness DayKnowledge

International Literacy Day 8th September 2023


International Literacy Day is an annual celebration by UNESCO which is celebrated every 8th of September. Literacy Day is celebrated to show light on global literacy needs with mission literacy for everyone and everywhere. It is an opportunity for Governments, and Civil Society to highlight the issues of literacy and remaining literacy Challenges.

“Still 750 million adults around the world can’t read or write. The majority of them are women”

Theme of International Literacy Day 2023

This year the theme of International Literacy Day 2023 will focus on “Promoting literacy for a world in transition: Building the foundation for sustainable and peaceful societies’.

The International Literacy Day (2023) will provide a chance to collaborate on initiatives that accelerate the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4) on education and lifelong learning as well as to consider the contribution of literacy to the creation of more inclusive, peaceful, just, and sustainable communities. By doing this, it will embrace the reciprocal relationships between literacy and other areas of development, which are both important for the development of such societies and help people become interested in and motivated to learn, use, and improve their literacy and numeracy skills.

On a global, regional, national, and local scale, ILD2023 will be observed worldwide under this topic. On Friday, September 8, 2023, a conference will be held both physically and virtually in Paris, France. The UNESCO International Literacy Prizes ceremony, which will reveal this year’s remarkable prizewinning programs, will be a part of this worldwide celebration.

As a result of the pandemic however, the importance of literacy was bring back. Besides being essential to the right to education, literacy empowers individuals and improves their lives by allowing them to choose a life they can value. Also, it’s a catalyst for sustainable growth. As defined by Sustainable Development Goal 4, literacy is an integral part of education and lifelong learning based on humanism. To recover from the COVID-19 crisis in a human-centred way, literacy is therefore crucial to the recovery process.

Literacy Day is one of the first days declared by the UN (United Nations) since 1965. The main concept behind celebrating International Literacy Day is UNESCO which reminds the community each and every day about the status of Literacy and global learning.

UNESCO eAtlas of Literacy

UNESCO has published eATLAS of Literacy which lets you explore the data in the form of maps, charts for different countries. Check your country’s Literacy Indicators Here.


On 26th October 1966, During the 14th session of UNESCO’s General Conference, it is proclaimed that the 8th of September is International Literacy Day and from 1967 International Literacy Day celebrated annually around the world to remind the importance of literacy as dignity and human rights.

International Literacy Prizes 2022

On the Occasion of International Literacy Day UNESCO awards International Literacy Prizes for the most innovative and inspiring literacy programs. The award will be given to those who will promote literacy within the theme of Literacy for a human-centred recovery: Narrowing the digital divide is an important asset for both literacy and educational development. The nomination process for the 2021 awards is closed now and the winners are announced on 8th of September by the General Director of UNESCO in Paris.

There are two UNESCO International Literacy Prizes:

  • The UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize – In this Prize there are 2 awards.
  • The UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy – 3 awards.

There is a total of five awards where each prize winner will receive a medal and USD $20.000.

Through the two prestigious prizes, UNESCO helps to support effective literacy practices and also encourages dynamic societies for closing the literacy gap which about approx.750 million people.

This year there are five literacy prize winner from countries -Ghana,Mexico,Nepal,United Kingdom,Yemen who are advancing literacy around the world.

According to statistics, it shows that approx. 775 million adults are lack in minimum literacy skills in which one in five adults are still not literate and out of the two-third are women. About 60.7 million children are out of school and many more are irregular and dropped out.

International Literacy Day is celebrated at the National and local level in schools, community centers, NGOs, and many more with an aim to impact one person at a time. Organizations organize educational events to uplift children and focus on their educational prospects.

Literacy rate in India

According to the UNESCO literacy list of 2105, the overall literacy rate in India is 72.1 percent. The percentage of Literacy rates includes both rural and urban India. The youth literacy rate among the age group of 15 to 24 years is 86.1 percent.

What was the main theme of International Literacy Day 2006?

In 2006, UNESCO decides the theme Literacy Sustains Development which was the main theme of that year. According to this theme, Literacy is one of the most powerful development tools which is widely acknowledged.

Swikriti Dandotia

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