International Literacy Day Current Affairs

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08 September: International Literacy Day

The International Literacy Day is being observed 08 September every year to emphasize the importance of literacy to individuals, society and communities

This year, the world is celebrating 50th International Literacy Day. The day was established in 1966 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

2016 Theme: Reading the Past, Writing the Future‘.

In India to observe this day, several functions have been planned by the National Literacy Mission Authority. The National Literacy Mission (NLM) was initiated by the government in 1988 with the objective of eradicating illiteracy.

In 1951, when first Census was conducted after Independence, the literacy rate of country was merely 18%.  However, in the last Census held in 2011 India has achieved a literacy rate of around 73%. The present national goal is to achieve literacy rate of 80 per cent by end of 12th Plan Period.


  • The UNESCO had announced September 8 as International Literacy Day on November 17, 1965 and it was first celebrated in 1966.
  • The objective of celebrating this day is to emphasize the significance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies.
  • On International Literacy Day every year, UNESCO retells the international community of the status of literacy and adult learning worldwide.


President Pranab Mukherjee stresses on woman education

Indian President Pranab Mukherjee presented the Saakshar Bharat Awards, 2014 at International Literacy Day which was celebrated by the National Literacy Mission Authority, Union Ministry of Human Resource Development at special celebrations organized at Vigyan Bhawan.
In his speech he expressed satisfaction on the improved and increased stress on education of the girl child and also merging the prevalent gender biases, by the new government. “If the mission enables the Indian woman to take charge of her life and health and feel more confident in her immediate physical and social environment; if literacy helps her to overcome deprivation, discrimination and injustice, then we can say that an important objective has been achieved,” he added.
He laid notable focus on educating weaker and deprived sections of the society while suggesting ways to raise the percentage of national literacy to international standards of 84%. His emphasis was both on tangible and intangible aspects of the education and literacy. He appreciated the target of 80% literacy in India by 2017 as outlined by the government.
Smt. Smriti Irani in her speech, expressed the importance of education in today’s world and said the celebrations were to make the public aware of the role education can play in their lives and help steer a great change in the society. She brought up the facts that the literacy rate of 73% was not reflected in the female population which is a matter of grave concern for the government.
The function was attended by other dignitaries, guests and beneficiaries and functionaries of adult education programme.