Background

The 8th of September was proclaimed International Literacy Day by UNESCO at the 14th session of UNESCO’s General Conference on 26 October 1966 to remind the international community of the importance of literacy for individuals, communities and societies, and the need for intensified efforts towards more literate societies.

The idea of an International Literacy Day was born at the World Conference of Ministers of Education on the Eradication of Illiteracy, held in Teheran, Iran, on 8-19 September 1965.

The Final Report of that Conference concluded:

"The development of the modern world, the accession to independence of a large number of countries, the need for the real emancipation of people and for the increasingly active and productive participation, in the economic, social and political life of human society, of the hundreds of millions of illierate adults still existing in the world, make it essential to change national education policies. Education systems must provide for the educational training needs of both the young generations who have not yet begun working life, and the generations that have already become adult without having had the benefit of the essential minimum of elementary education.
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National educational plans should include schooling for children and literacy training for adults as parallel elements."

Since the first International Literacy Day in 1967, celebrations have taken place annually around the world, coordinated by UNESCO, countries and partners, to advance the literacy agenda at global, regional and national levels.



Past Observances