September 8: International Literacy Day

Today is International Literacy Day sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). First observed in 1967, International Literacy Day calls attention to the need to promote literacy and education around the world as an antidote to poverty.

According the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, more than 100 million girls and boys never enroll in school. At the minimum 860 million adults worldwide are illiterate.

Education and literacy are central to the stability, prosperity, and well-being of any country. As explained by Koichiro Matsuura, UNESCO Director-General:

Literacy is not merely a cognitive skill of reading, writing and arithmetic, for literacy helps in the acquisition of learning and life skills that, when strengthened by usage and application throughout people’s lives, lead to forms of individual, community and societal development that are sustainable.

Today’s Challenge: Read All About It
Read and reflect on the the quotations below about the importance of literacy and education. Which do you like the best and why?

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” –Frederick Douglass

“Learning to read is probably the most difficult and revolutionary thing that happens to the human brain and if you don’t believe that, watch an illiterate adult try to do it.” –John Steinbeck

“Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope. It is a tool for daily life in modern society. It is a bulwark against poverty, and a building block of development, an essential complement to investments in roads, dams, clinics and factories. Literacy is a platform for democratization, and a vehicle for the promotion of cultural and national identity. -Kof Annan

“Bigotry is the disease of ignorance, of morbid minds; enthusiasm of the free and buoyant. Education and free discussion are the antidotes of both.” –Thomas Jefferson

“One of the greatest gifts adults can give — to their offspring and to their society — is to read to children.” –Carl Sagan

True literacy is becoming an arcane art and the United States is steadily dumbing down.
-Isaac Asimov

Quote of the Day: Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family. –Kofi Annan

1 – UNESCO – Education – Literacy Day – http://portal.unesco.org/education/en/ev.php-URL_ID=41537&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html

2 – http://www.literacyday.net/

3- Online Etymology Dictionary