International Literacy Day 2019
“Our world is rich and diverse with about 7,000 living languages. These languages are instruments for communication, engagement in lifelong learning, and participation in society and the world of work. They are also closely linked with distinctive identities, cultures, worldviews, and knowledge systems. Embracing linguistic diversity in education and literacy development is therefore a key part of developing inclusive societies that respect “diversity” and “difference”, upholding human dignity”.
Audrey Azoulay, Director General, UNESCO
International Literacy Day 2019 is globally commemorated with the theme: ‘Literacy and multilingualism’.
Despite progress made, literacy challenges persist, distributed unevenly across countries and populations. Embracing linguistic diversity in education and literacy development is central to addressing these literacy challenges and to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
The objective of Sustainable Development Goal 4 to ensure ‘inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’ will only be fully achieved if the 2 learning needs of young people and adults with limited literacy skills are met with inclusive education.
Mother language-based multilingual approaches to literacy are a pillar of this education. These approaches recognize linguistic and cultural diversity, support literacy and learning and preserve human dignity by respecting the needs of different groups and individuals.
On the occasion of International Literacy Day 2019, the main characteristics of multilingualism in today’s globalized and digitalized world will be discussed, together with their implications for literacy in policies and practice in order to achieve greater inclusion in multilingual contexts.