Officially proclaimed by UNESCO nearly 50 years ago, International Literacy Day takes place annually on September 8th. This day is a great opportunity to take time to celebrate literacy in our communities, but also a day to draw attention to the need for basic literacy skills worldwide. Literacy is recognized as a human right by the United Nations and while there have been great strides in the past decades, there is still much to be done. Across the globe, 1 in 5 people cannot read or write; low literacy levels are related to increased unemployment, crime, poverty, and long-term illness.
In Canada, 51.5% of the adult population has level 3 literacy skills, which are considered adequate for dealing with everyday life in contemporary society. However, NB is one of the lowest ranked provinces with less than half (46.5%) of the population meeting this standard. With modern advances in communication and technology, literacy skills are absolutely crucial for active participation in society; increasing these skills across the country continues to be incredibly important.
On September 8th, 2015 be sure to take time to learn about and celebrate literacy! For more information on International Literacy Day and ideas for how to celebrate, check out the International Literacy Day website. If you want to find out more on literacy issues and programs in New Brunswick, check out the Literacy Coalition of New Brunswick’s website.