05.09.2013 - UNESCO Office in Kathmandu

International Literacy Day, 8 September 2013, media advisory


Each year on 8 September, International Literacy Day is observed to highlight the importance of literacy for individuals, communities and societies. In Nepal and elsewhere, this year’s International Literacy Day will be celebrated under the motto “Literacies for the twenty-first century”.

Literacy is a basic right and an essential motor for human development. It paves the way to autonomy, the acquisition of skills, cultural expression and full participation in society.

Literacy is the key for acquiring all skills that are the foundations of modern society: knowledge, interpersonal skills, expertise and the ability to live together in communities.

In her message on the occasion of International Literacy Day, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova says “Literacy is much more than an educational priority – it is the ultimate investment in the future, as it is the first step towards all the new forms of literacy required in the twenty-first century”.

Today, 84 per cent of the world’s population can read and write. But in comparison with this good achievement over the last two decades, Nepal with only 65.9 per cent of its population being literate still lags far behind.  Forty-three out of one hundred girls and women in Nepal cannot read and write, and many of them will never be able to reach the larger literacy skills that are necessary in the twenty-first century. They will remain excluded from the benefits of new technologies and stay at the margins of the new connected knowledge societies.

Nepal’s millions of illiterates are among the country’s most vulnerable people. The fact that they cannot read and write is one of the root causes of their exclusion.  They must therefore be in the focus of attention of the Government and international development partners alike. This is why the Non Formal Education Centre, UNESCO, UNICEF, WFP and NGO partners are joining hands to observe International Literacy Day this year by a variety of events at the national and district levels. They include:

·   A television talk show on the theme “Creating a literate environment in Nepal” that will be broadcast on “Avenues Television” on 7 September 2013 at 9.30 p.m. and on 9 September 2013 at 9.30 a.m.;

·   The airing of radio jingles on “Creating a literate environment in Nepal” through the Ujyaalo FM radio network on 6 , 7 and 8 September 2013;

·   A nationwide poster competition on literacy for young people;

·   A folk song competition among neo literates in Kathmandu on 8 September;

·   An exhibition at the National Academy Hall in Kathmandu on 8 September 2013;

·   Joint events of UNESCO, WFP, UNICEF and partners in Janakpur on 5 September 2013 including a rally for promoting literacy, storytelling events, testimonies of young champions, and street dramas etc.


For media enquiries, please contact:


Tap Raj Pant


National Programme Officer (Education) 

P.O.Box 14391


Tel.: + 977 1 5554769, 5554396 ext. 14

Fax: + 977 1 5554450




Kathmandu, 3 September 2013

Press release UNESCO/KAT 14/2013

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