The National Literacy Mission Authority (NLMA) will organize International Literacy Day (ILD) celebrations in the country on September 8. This year ILD will be celebrated in New Delhi. As part of the ILD celebrations, the ministry of human resource development is organizing KRITI Exhibition 2014 showcasing the products crafted by Jan Shikshan Sansthan. Efforts towards eradication of illiteracy started receiving worldwide attention, particularly from international organizations including UNESCO. On September 8, 1965, the World Congress of ministers of education met in Tehran to discuss the problem for the first time at international level. Since then, this day was declared as the International Literacy Day by the UNESCO at its 14th session in November, 1966.
According to data released by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, literacy rates for adults and youth continue to rise. Young women aged 15-24 are making the strongest gains but still lag behind young men. In 2011, 87% of female youth had basic literacy skills compared to 92% of males. Overall more than half of countries with data have youth literacy rates of 95% or higher. Despite these gains 774 million adults (15 years and older) still cannot read or write and two thirds of them (493 million) are women. Among youth 123 million are illiterate of which 76 million are female. Even though the size of the global illiterate population is shrinking the female proportion has remained virtually steady at 63% to 64%.
For over 40 years now, UNESCO has been celebrating International Literacy Day by reminding the international community that literacy is a human right and the foundation of all learning. The importance of observing International Literacy Day is the need to mobilize public opinion in favour of the struggle against illiteracy. According to Human Development Report-2003-UNDP it is estimated that there are 879 million illiterate adults in the world, of which two-third are women. A statement by the press information bureau states that eradication of illiteracy has been one of the major national concerns of the government since independence. A literate society is an essential precondition for achieving social and economic advancement. There has been a significant decline in the absolute number of non-literates during the last decade. Literacy is a cause for celebration since there are now close to four billion literate people in the world. However, literacy for all children, youth and adults is still an unaccomplished goal and an ever moving target. It is the time for everyone of us help the people by educating them because it is their primary right and a need.