New technologies open opportunities to improve lives and connect globally, but they can also marginalize those who are illiterate and lack other essential skills needed to navigate them, a senior United Nations official today said, highlighting that some 750 million adults worldwide are not literate.
“Traditionally, literacy has been considered a set of reading, writing and counting skillsapplied in a certain context. Digitally-mediated knowledge societies are changing what it means to be literate, calling for new and higher-level literacy skills,” said the Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova, in her message for International Literacy Day.
Marked annually on 8 September, the International Day this year is devoted to better understanding the type of literacy required in a digital world to build more inclusive, equitable and sustainable societies.
In Paris, opening the International Conference on International Literacy Day, Ms. Bokova today said that technologies must be more accessible and work for people.
“First, they must be inclusive, bridging gaps, not deepening them. Second, they must be underpinned by respect for human rights and dignity. All this gives rise to new questions about the meaning of literacy today,” she said.