05.09.2011 - UNESCO Office in Kathmandu

UNESCO celebrates International Literacy Day in Nepal

International Literacy Day is celebrated worldwide every year on September 8 and presents an opportunity to mobilize global attention on the urgent need for an increased commitment to literacy.

The theme of the 2011 International Literacy Day is “Literacy for Peace”, which highlights the highly influential role literacy plays in promoting and preserving peace; contributing to the building of peaceful, inclusive and prosperous nations.



Whereas Nepal has made important progress in the last decade, there is still a significant illiteracy gap between men and women. According to the most recent Nepal Living Standards Survey (NLSS-III 2010-2011), Nepal has an adult literacy rate of 56.6 per cent, with a huge variation between males and females.



The literacy rate in Nepal is 71.6 per cent for men and 44.5 per cent for women, revealing a Gender Parity Index (GPI) at 0.62, with women still lagging behind men by more than 27 percentage points. According to the Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2011, out of 7.6 million adult illiterates in Nepal, 67 per cent are female.



The UNESCO Office in Kathmandu, the Non-Formal Education Center (NFEC), and the Ministry of Education (MOE) will jointly celebrate International Literacy Day through a host of activities.


The UNESCO Office in Kathmandu will support the NFEC in publishing a special edition on literacy and a non-formal education (NFE) bulletin that will be launched on 8 September 2011.


Articles in the special edition and bulletin will emphasize the importance of reducing the high number of illiterate people in Nepal; and literacy as a powerful tool to advance the peace agenda.


The UNESCO Kathmandu Office will also unite with the Shikharapur Community Learning Center to observe International Literacy Day to highlight the importance of literacy for peace.


UNESCO initiatives on International Literacy Day include: 


  • Supporting the MOE to publish a special edition on literacy and non-formal education (NFE) bulletin to be launched on 8 September 2011;

  • Participating in the exhibition of literacy and NFE materials organized by NFEC/MOE;

  • Supporting the Sikharapur Community Learning Centre to celebrate International Literacy Day 2011 by organizing a literacy rally, cultural show and exhibition of products for demonstration and sale;  

  • Publishing posters (designed at UNESCO HQ) on Literacy for Peace in the English and Nepali languages to distribute to key stakeholders and NGO partners for use on International Literacy Day;

  • Publishing the Director-General’s message on the UNESCO Kathmandu website for wider dissemination;

  • Obtaining short video clips from both the prime minister and the education minister to highlight the importance of International Literacy Day;

  • Participating in a talk programme on literacy, organized by the NFEC, involving experts, policy makers and graduates of literacy programmes;

  • Issuing a joint press release with UNDP, that stresses the importance of curbing the high number of illiterate people in Nepal; and literacy as a powerful tool to implement the peace agenda.   



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