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  Literacy Teaching and Learning in the COVID-19 Crisis and Beyond Since the declaration of September 8 as the date for the annual celebration of the International Literacy Day by the United Nations Educational, Scientific Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) on October 26, 1966, the aim of highlighting the relevance of literacy to individuals, societies, and communities have been met annually. However, despite the efforts of UNESCO and other relevant stakeholders towards the advancement of literacy globally, 773 million adults and young people still do not possess basic literacy skills. Further, 617 million children and adolescents have challenges as regards being proficient in reading and mathematics. 
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With the global spread of COVID-19 in 2020, the initial phase of the virus saw schools closed in almost every part of the world, disrupting the access of 62.3 percent of the global population (about 1.9 billion students) to education. As the pandemic got to its peak, there was a need to respond to the academic needs of students, but adult literacy was initially neglected as adult literacy programmes were suspended with fewer courses continuing virtually with the use of television and radio, or in open spaces. Owing to this, the International Literacy Day 2020, is themed Literacy Teaching and Learning in the COVID-19 Crisis and Beyond with the major aim of focusing on the role of educators and transforming pedagogies. This year’s celebration is greatly focused on the youth and adults, highlighting lifelong perspectives in learning. Though a wide gap existed between policy discourse and reality prior to the advent of COVID-19, the pandemic was a stark reminder of those gaps as it further exposed how it negatively impacted the learning process in youth and adults who lack or possess fewer literacy skills. 
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However, it is important to note that literacy is a key component of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the United Nations. Adopted by world leaders in September 2015, the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Agenda encourages universal access to quality education and opportunities for learning throughout the lifetime of people on earth. Seeing to the attainment of literacy and numeracy for young people, and ensuring adults who lack these opportunities are presented with platforms for learning form the major goal. To achieve this aim, UNESCO has developed four main strategies for youth and adult education, they are:
  • Developing national literacy policies and strategies.
  • Addressing the learning needs of disadvantaged groups, particularly women and girls.
  • Leveraging digital technologies to expand access and improve learning outcomes.
  • Monitoring progress and assessing literacy skills and programmes
Sources: UN Unesco Wikipedia Featured Image Source: CFA Media
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This article was first published on 10th August 2020 and updated on September 11th, 2020 at 12:04 am


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