International Literacy Day 2015 – Literacy and Sustainable Societies

In 1965, UNESCO declared September 8 as International Literacy Day. Since this proclamation, schools, organisations and communities around the world have worked to promote reading and literacy through various channels.

Why is literacy so important? Because illiteracy is expensive. It costs the global economy an estimated US$1.19 trillion annually. The impact of illiteracy is the same in both developing and developed nations. Effects include limited opportunities for employment or income generation, higher chances of poor health, propensity towards crime or dependence on social welfare or charity. The impact is even greater on women and girls, thus many initiatives have been aimed at educating this sector of the global population.

Jamaica has a high literacy rate and the Ministry of Education recently exceeded its target of 85 per cent mastery in literacy among grade four students by 2015. See the infographic below for more.