Aditi Panda

8th September was declared by UNESCO as the International Literacy Day at its 14th Session in November 1966. This day is meant to call for creating awareness and mobilising public belief in favour of the fight against illiteracy. Keeping in view the scale of literacy in India, eradication of illiteracy has been one of the major concerns of the Government since independence.  Besides, universalization of primary education, efforts to promote adult literacy and adult education has been enhanced over the years.
“The wider adult population has not benefited to the same extent in some regions. It is a troubling fact that there are now more adults without literacy compared with 50 years ago, meaning that our efforts have not kept pace with population growth,” said Qian Tang, UNESCO education assistant director-general, in the 50th International Literacy Day Review.
He notes that the international community already has its eyes on 2030 with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and has aimed to ensure inclusive and quality education for all as well as promote lifelong learning within its goals. He further said that there are currently about 758 million youth and adults who have been “excluded from the network of written communication”.
As per the latest review that there were about 43.9 million illiterate young people in 2015 and this will continue “for decades” due to acute poverty and political conflict. However, Southern Asia has made “extensive growth” since 1990 and the regional youth literacy rate has seen a rise from 60 per cent in 1990 to almost 90 per cent in 2015.
In India, the adult literacy rate has increased by merely 18.4 % in 15 years. It was 61 % in 2000 and 72.2 % in 2015. Nepal and Pakistan have seen the most growth among South Asian nations with 33 and 32.2 % increase in adult literacy during the same period, closely followed by Bangladesh at 29.5 %.
“More emphasis should be given to girl education and girl dropouts should be decreased by making education more accessible. Each person has the right to study according to individual interest. If this is allowed the literacy rate in the country will certainly boost up“, shares Kunal Mohapatra, a MBA student.
“The definition of literacy does not mean the ability to sign your own name but in fact it is to be able to take the right decisions in your life. The importance of education is different for every person but studying is necessary. Literacy does help to transform the conventional mindset of the community and help the country to develop faster”, says Sanghamitra Mohanty, teaching since last 21 years.
The International Literacy Day is a gentle reminder to the world on the status of literacy and to take fast measures to wipe illiteracy globally.
(Aditi is a freelance writer and pursues interest in the area of social issues)


  1. By improving the literacy skills only the aim of education for all can be achieved. Which in turn will help in establishing a sustainable democratic society. India, being a democratic country, requires participation of the people. It’s very important that the people be literate and well informed.

  2. Read the article. According to me real education means being a good human being. Most urban dwellers are supposedly educated but also the most corrupt. Though kerala has the highest literacy rate in India it also tops in suicide rates and alcoholism.

    Renuka chetty,pune on wassup

  3. Very nice opinions n l am also totally agree with Ms Sanghamitra Mohanty that literacy is not only for sign own name but also have capability to take ur family in right path. Ur opinion is also very true

    On wasssup from Dr. Sujata Kanungo,Nepal

  4. Thanks a ton Renuka and Sujata for reading the article and sending your opinion.

    Thanku Sanghamitra for your byte and adding value to my article

  5. Nice write up, but we should think more deeply about literacy, the bookish descriptions are not practically viable

    Sent by Saibali pal,Bhubaneswar on wassup

    Thanku Saibali for your comments.its right.

  6. What I see in rural village is a TV with Tata sky set top box rather than kids with school bags. Amazing thing is they don’t even care. The deeper we go into grass root level the quality of education is worse than we think. With that type of education, can we expect of descent employment of rural children, hard isn’t it ?apparently we must focus in our foundation. We have to restructure our primary education and make it more uniform. It is important for children’s to hope for better future with education.

  7. Literacy is the base of education..and education is the spine of a nation….A literate person can only read n write but an educated person can not only read n write but also distinguish between the right n wrong…it is also said that ” You educate a girl,then u educate a full family…but you educate a boy then it stops there.” So I feel educating girls should be given more stress in the rural areas…
    Education spreads its tentacles of worthiness not only in the family but also in the society,nation n the world.
    And the apt tagline for promoting education in India…”Padega India toh badega India” …I feel should be more promoted n sponsored by the corporates