International Literacy Day

Literacy in a digital world

This year, International Literacy Day (8 September) will be celebrated across the world under the theme of ‘Literacy in a Digital World’. On 7 and 8 September, 2017 a special two-day event will be organized at UNESCO’s Headquarters in Paris, with the overall aim to look at what kind of literacy skills people need to navigate increasingly digitally-mediated societies, and to explore effective literacy policies and programmes that can leverage the opportunities that the digital world provides.

The 2017 UNESCO International Literacy Prizes awards ceremony will also take place to recognize and reward excellent literacy practices from around the world in connection with this year’s theme and as a key target in Sustainable Development Goal 4.

At record speed, digital technologies are fundamentally changing the way people live, work, learn and socialise everywhere. They are giving new possibilities to people to improve all areas of their lives including access to information; knowledge management; networking; social services; industrial production, and mode of work. However, those who lack access to digital technologies and the knowledge, skills and competencies required to navigate them, can end up marginalised in increasingly digitally driven societies. Literacy is one such essential skill.

Just as knowledge, skills and competencies evolve in the digital world, so does what it means to be literate. In order to close the literacy skills gap and reduce inequalities, this year’s International Literacy Day will highlight the challenges and opportunities in promoting literacy in the digital world, a world where, despite progress, at least 758 million adults and 263 million out-of-school children still lack basic literacy skills.

International Literacy Day is celebrated annually worldwide and brings together governments, multi- and bilateral organizations, NGOs, private sectors, communities, teachers, learners and experts in the field. It is an occasion to mark achievements and reflect on ways to counter remaining challenges for the promotion of literacy as an integral part of lifelong learning within and beyond the 2030 Education Agenda. 

UNESCO global event

The international conference on ‘Literacy in a digital world’ and the UNESCO International Literacy Prizes Awards Ceremony will take place on the 7 - 8 September 2017 at UNESCO headquarters, Paris, France. The event, by invitation only, will gather participants from all regions in the world who are active in the field of education, policy-making, literacy and digital technology. 

The objectives of the international conference will be:

  • To deepen understanding of what kind of literacy skills people need to navigate in a digital world and what this means for literacy teaching and learning;
  • To share and analyse promising practices with regard to policies, programmes, monitoring and evaluation as well as financing that advances literacy in a digital world;
  • To explore how digital technologies can support progress towards the Sustainable Development Goal 4, especially Target 4.6 on youth and adult literacy.

Background documents

Contact information

 

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