Back to top
Back to top


  1. International Literacy Day

Promoting literacy for all as a tool for personal empowerment and social and human development.

Literacy is at the heart of basic Education for All, and essential for eradicating poverty, reducing child mortality, achieving gender equality and ensuring sustainable development, peace and democracy.

Since its foundation in 1946, UNESCO has been at the forefront of global literacy efforts and is concerned with keeping literacy high on the agenda regionally, nationally and internationally.

UNESCO led the United Nations Literacy Decade (UNLD) under the banner ‘Literacy is Freedom’. Launched at UN Headquarters in 2003, the Literacy Decade aimed to improve literacy levels and empower people everywhere.

In support of this initiative, UNESCO holds an International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA) every 12 years. The VI CONFINTEA conference entitled ‘Living and Learning for a Viable Future – The Power of Adult Learning’ (hyperlink) was held in Brazil, 19-22 May 2009.

Read more about UNESCO’s work on literacy by visiting the UNESCO website.

International Literacy Day

Each year, UNESCO reminds the international community of the importance of literacy and adult learning.

Despite many and varied efforts, global literacy has yet to be achieved: 1 in 5 adults lacks minimum literacy skills and 75 million children are out of school; many more attend irregularly or drop out.

International Literacy Day focuses on the empowering role of literacy and its importance for participation, citizenship and social development. The next International Literacy Day is due to take place on 8 September 2014.

Pages in this section

Media Literacy
Thumb: Media Literacy
Giving people the choice to communicate, create and participate fully in today's world
Back to top
  • Images

  • Movies

    • Interview – The Non-Formal and Continuing Education programme

    • Nirantar – UNESCO 2009 Prize laureate

Back to top

Regional and accessibility