This national holiday means so much to me. Last year, when I first discussed the importance of the day. As international Literacy Day occurs every September 8th, this year’s theme is incredibly unique to 2020. “International Literacy Day 2020 focuses on ‘Literacy teaching and learning in the COVID-19 crisis and beyond,’ especially on educators’ role and changing pedagogies.”
This year we are looking more into what lifelong learning perspectives exist in youth and adults. I found the below stats somewhat surprising:
- 773 million adults and young people lack basic literacy skills;
- 617 million children and adolescents are not achieving minimum proficiency levels in reading and mathematics;
- During the initial phase of the pandemic, schools were closed, disrupting the education of 62.3 percent of the world’s student population of 1.09 billion;
- Adult literacy and education were absent in initial education response plans, therefore many youth and adults with no or low literacy skills have had limited access to life-saving information.
The global crisis has done so much to highlight what entities of our world are broken and need improvement. As many more students across the globe have their very first day of school after the summer and holiday weekend, now is not the time to neglect the expanding minds of children, the incredible effort reported by the school’s teachers, and the stark reminder that there is a gap that negatively impacts learners.
The UN Page goes on to discuss: “During COVID-19, in many countries, adult literacy programs were absent in the initial education response plans, so most adult literacy programs that did exist were suspended, with just a few courses continuing virtually, through TV and radio, or in open-air spaces.” They also ask some valuable questions to put a perspective on what we should examine while understanding literacy during a COVID-19 world.
What is the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on youth and adult literacy educators and teaching and learning? What are the lessons learned? How can we effectively position youth and adult literacy teaching in global and national responses and strategies for the recovery and resilience-building phase?
I think glaring holes exist in resources that children and adults miss out on now that unperson learning importunities are limited. I think the expectation that so many have disposable or flexible income that allows for technology, both as a computer and wifi, is readily available for all students, does not consider those living in poverty, and unable to follow suit and transition to online schooling.
I think the lessons we all learn from this are that teachers do so much for their students and don’t give them nearly enough credit. There are teachers all over the globe always willing to chance their wellbeing for our children, yet so many don’t see why teachers may have a hard time teaching “as normal” as if children and adults are not dying every day during this pandemic.
Again, I urge my readers and followers to pick up a book today. I want you to read a page, a chapter, or the entire thing. I want to know what book you choose, what you learned from your moments reading, and how it made you feel. I also urge my readers to write something today for yourself. Write down your grocery list on paper, an encouraging quote on a Post-it note to place on your computer screen, or a letter to a loved one.