KOLKATA: International Literacy Day, celebrated annually on September 8, is an opportunity for governments, civil society and stakeholders to highlight improvements in world literacy rates, and reflect on the world's remaining literacy challenges.
This year's theme is 'Literacy and skills development.'
Despite progress made, literacy challenges persist, and at the same time the demands for skills required for work, evolve rapidly.
This year's theme explores integrated approaches that simultaneously support the development of literacy and skills, to ultimately improve people's lives and work and contribute to equitable and sustainable societies.
The issue of literacy is a key component of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals and the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The UN's Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by world leaders in September 2015, promotes, as part of its agenda, universal access to quality education and learning opportunities throughout people's lives.
Sustainable Development Goal 4 has as one of its targets ensuring all young people achieve literacy and numeracy and that adults who lack these skills are given the opportunity to acquire them.
The day focuses on skills and competencies required for employment, careers, and livelihoods, particularly technical and vocational skills, along with transferable skills and digital skills.
To mark this day, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted, "Today is International Literacy Day. The issue of literacy is a key component of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals and the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Our Govt is committed to spreading the light of education among all."
On the occasion of 52nd International Literacy Day, a padayatra will be organised from the Gandhi Statue on Mayo Road in the city to commemorate the day. A cultural function will also be held at Rabindra Sadan. The State Government is committed to achieving 100 per cent literacy rate in Bengal.
To that effect, schemes and programmes are being implemented in Murshidabad, Malda, North and South Dinajpur, Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar, Birbhum, Jalpaiguri, Purulia and Bankura.
Although the Centre has stopped giving funds for national literacy programme, the State Government has been running various programmes with its own funds.