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International Literacy Day today

Karachi, Sep 8: Today (September 8) is International World Literacy Day as nominated by the United Nations (UN).

This year's theme, 'Literacy sustains development', emphasises that literacy is not only a positive outcome of development but also a harbinger of change and an instrument for achieving further social progress. Literacy is a cause for celebration since there are now approximately four billion literate people in the world. However, literacy for all - children, youth and adults - is still an unaccomplished goal. A combination of ambitious goals, insufficient and parallel efforts, inadequate resources and strategies, and continued underestimation of the magnitude and complexity of the task accounts for this unmet goal. Lessons learnt over the recent decades show that meeting the goal of universal literacy calls not only for more effective efforts but also for renewed political will.

September 8 is an occasion to give hope to millions of women, men and children, who cannot read or write even their own names. International Literacy Day is a timely reminder to the world about the importance of literacy for individuals, families, communities and society on the whole. "Literacy is not merely a cognitive skill of reading, writing and arithmetic, for literacy helps in the acquisition of learning life skills that, when strengthened by usage and application throughout people's lives, lead to forms of individual, community and societal development that are sustainable," said Ko‘chiro Matsuura, the director general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) in his message on the occasion of International Literacy Day 2006.

To commemorate this day, events are organised worldwide to raise public awareness and support for literacy. The United Nations General Assembly has declared that the period from 2003-2012 will be known as the United Nations Literacy Decade (UNLD).

Several events are also being organised in Karachi to mark International Literacy Day. The Child Rights Forum organised a demonstration on Friday in front of the Karachi Press Club (KPC) to commemorate Literacy Day and remind literate people of their responsibility to spread literacy in the country.

Helping Hands of the Bahria University (HHBU) is celebrating the day to highlight various issues relating to literacy in Pakistan. The aim of the event, according to the HHBU, is to extend financial assistance for the cause of improving literacy in the country.

The importance of the literacy will be discussed in various departments of the University of Karachi (KU) and students will be asked to teach at least two or three people to make them literate in a few months time. The news
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