Today the world observes the 50th anniversary of International Literacy Day, which was initiated by UNESCO in 1966. The 2016 theme, “Reading the Past, Writing the Future,” reflects the emphasis on literacy in Goal 4 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.
Sustainable Development Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning
- By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and Goal-4 effective learning outcomes
- By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and preprimary education so that they are ready for primary education
- By 2030, ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university
- By 2030, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship
- By 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations
- By 2030, ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy
- By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development
- Build and upgrade education facilities that are child, disability and gender sensitive and provide safe, nonviolent, inclusive and effective learning environments for all
- By 2020, substantially expand globally the number of scholarships available to developing countries, in particular least developed countries, small island developing States and African countries, for enrolment in higher education, including vocational training and information and communications technology, technical, engineering and scientific programmes, in developed countries and other developing countries
- By 2030, substantially increase the supply of qualified teachers, including through international cooperation for teacher training in developing countries, especially least developed countries and small island developing states
In observance of International Literacy Day 2016, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova has announced the launch of the Global Alliance for Literacy:
Literacy is essential to success across the board. A foundation for human rights and dignity, literacy is vital for poverty eradication, for gender equality, for more inclusive and sustainable societies. This is why we launch today the Global Alliance for Literacy, to mobilize investment and promote innovative initiatives, with a focus on gender and new information and communication technologies. We must seize every opportunity — we must work across all sectoral boundaries.