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5 countries highlighting the importance of education on #LiteracyDay

Flickr: Dietmar Temps

You really can’t overestimate the importance of literacy. It’s basically a superpower.


Literacy affects every aspect of life from how you perceive things to how you envision the future.


Literacy allows a person to scan the news, decipher street signs, talk to neighbors about current events. It allows someone to learn about chemistry, participate in community efforts to get electricity, start a business and borrow the latest ideas on urban planning from around the world.

On the most fundamental level, literacy grants a person access to society. It allows a person to think critically about her situation, pursue a more expansive life and advocate for herself.

Around the world, 757 million adults are illiterate, two-thirds of which are women. Illiteracy drastically limits what a person can do in life. It locks a person in socioeconomic place.

On International Literacy Day 2015, countries around the world are celebrating education from various angles.

Here are 5 standouts:

1) Algeria is celebrating the opening of a center for “Women’s literacy, training and integration” and unveiling a campaign called “School for all from 6 to 16.” Educating girls is perhaps the single most effective tactic for ending extreme poverty. When girls gain a sound education, income increases, early marriage and pregnancy gets delayed, gender equality commences, entrepreneurial opportunities open up, and, more generally, the value of education gets passed to future generations.

Algerian classroomImage: Flickr: Magharebia

2) In Brussels, Belgium, the connection between literacy and civic engagement is being highlighted amid a continent-wide celebration of education that includes more than 130 events. You cannot fully participate in civic life without an education. Understanding how governments operate, who holds power, how reforms get passed and much more are all revealed through education. Basically, a more informed, educated public can guarantee a more fair society.

School in BrusselsImage: Flickr: Marc Wathieu

3) The government of Niger is bringing together major financing partners of education such as NGOs and private companies for several public events. In countries with budget deficits, key departments such as education often see funds diminish unless outside partners step in. Across the world, public-private partnerships are increasing and are already playing a critical in ensuring universal education.

School in NigerImage: Flickr: Photo Unit

4) Nepal is highlighting the role education plays in restoring and promoting peace. The link between education and conflict is double-sided. When conflict erupts, schools tend to close and students are displaced often for years, severing them from an education, and setting the future up for more conflict. When education thrives, peace generally settles over a society, which fosters more education and less potential for conflict.


5) Kenya is bringing attention to how crippling adult literacy can be for both individuals and societies. Illiteracy basically bars a person from engaging with society. Kenya is looking to reduce adult literacy by 50% in the years to come and prevent children from growing up illiterate. 


On Literacy Day, take a moment to appreciate how literacy has shaped your life, how it has allowed you to be who you are today. Literacy makes life so much more manageable--from reading ingredient labels to knowing where to meet your friend to applying for a job to considering upcoming elections.

And then think about all the people who struggle with illiteracy, who feel incapable of engaging with a broader society and who have a hard time grasping the possibilities of life.

If you think that everyone should be empowered with literacy, then go to TAKE ACTION NOW to call on world leaders to guarantee 12 years of school for every child.

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