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International Literacy Day (ILD) — Let’s get literate!

Closing the divide between literacy and technology
girl reading a book
Reading a book

For most people, reading is a simple task but for far too many people worldwide, literacy is a challenge. Sometimes circumstances cannot provide the right tools to those who need them the most. Whatever the reason, it is a fact that literacy changes lives.

On September 8th, celebrate International Literacy Day (ILD).

Since 1967, the world has shared in ILD to promote dignity and human rights to advance social sustainability. In other words, better the education, better the life.

This year’s theme is, “Literacy for a human-centred recovery: Narrowing the digital divide.”

With COVID closing schools and distance learning becoming an accepted “norm,” technology has quickly become a tool for a better education. Unfortunately, not everyone has full access to the technology needed for success. Distance learning becomes very difficult for families with no internet service or computer systems. The question then becomes, how can someone participate every day without getting behind if standard learning tools are not provided?

“Even in the times of global crisis, efforts have been made to find alternative ways to ensure the continuity of learning, including distance learning, often in combination with in-person learning. Access to literacy learning opportunities, however, has not been evenly distributed. The rapid shift to distance learning also highlighted the persistent digital divide in terms of connectivity, infrastructure and the ability to engage with technology, as well as disparities in other services such as access to electricity, which has limited learning options,” Christine Boyczuk, coordinator for the Moose Jaw and District Literacy Network.

If distance learning becomes the new normal, then a new modern infrastructure must be established to give those the opportunity to take control of his/her learning experience without being left behind.

The pandemic opened up opportunities for change in literacy giving us the knowledge of where help is needed most. Bringing us into a new conversation as globally we understand the importance of technology and basic learning skills. We now have the option of narrowing the digital divide as we come together for a human-centred recovery.

Celebrate International Literacy Day on September 8th by visiting your local library or bookstore, donate used books to charity or grab the local paper and sit in the park. Alternatively grab a computer, laptop, tablet or smart phone and let’s get literate!