Abhijit Ray, Kolkata:Literacy is a human right. For more than 50 years, international efforts have been made at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris to eradicate poverty and make education accessible to all. Where it was said ‘Education for All’. With that idea, on October 26, 1966, UNESCO declared the first International Literacy Day on September 8, 1967 as the first International Literacy Day to promote education at all levels.Since that day, every year in different parts of the world, in different countries, this day has been celebrated as International Literacy Day in different ways. Various events are held on 7-8 September at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris. Despite long efforts, the literacy map is very disappointing in many countries. For example,it is Afghanistan.Let’s look at the world education map. Where it is said that 75 million adults in the world still cannot read and write. In a word, illiterate.The international literacy rate of the world’s total population aged 15 years and above is 84.1 percent. Among which male literacy rate is 88.6 percent and female literacy rate is 79.7 percent. Although it has been announced to eliminate gender inequality in education or to bring women to the top in education many women and men in the world are still in the dark of education. Two-thirds of the world’s adult illiterates are women.
0.7 percent children are still out of school. 12.2 million children are illiterate, of which 60 percent are women.
About 75 percent of the world’s 77.5 million adult illiterates are confined to ten countries, according to the CIA World Fact Book. They are India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Indonesia, Republic of Congo. South Asia and West Asia and sub-Saharan regions have the lowest literacy rates.Along with the slogan Education for All, the United Nations also had messages on literacy and health. Because a large part of the world is deprived of the right to education due to malaria, tuberculosis, HIV etc. In 2009, UNESCO’s slogan to advance women’s education was ‘Literacy and Empowerment’. Where the emphasis was on women’s education. Eliminating gender inequality and educating women to become equal to men. But in reality, it did not happen. Millions of people are still living far, far away from the arena of education, illiterate.An enlightened society is formed when any country or nation becomes educated and removes gender inequality. Argentina is the real example. Where men and women are educated in equal numbers. In the tiny country of Andorra, 100 percent are literate. Literacy rate in Australia (International Literacy Day) is 96 percent, China 95 percent, France 99 percent.Finland 100 percent. The Global Literacy Index that UNESCO prepares every 10 years states that the current literacy rate of 15-year-olds is 86 percent. Where the male rate is 90.5 percent. Women are 82.7 percent.
Since 2005, UNESCO has been awarding the Education Prize in the name of the great philosopher Confucius to individuals or organizations that work to promote education in different parts of the world every year.This year, International Literacy Day is being celebrated at a time when the whole world is not only in crisis due to the epidemic called Covid, in exchange of lakhs of lives, but in extreme distress, lakhs of people have been forced to be unemployed and the entire education system is facing a big question. One information says that billions of students or Padua in the world have been or will be forced to drop out of the field of education due to this epidemic.It is called Literacy in Digital World. The main objective of the International Literacy Day will be to eliminate illiteracy and increase the literacy rate.