International Literacy Day

Laurie Bidwell

10 September 2013


By marking International Literacy Day ( on Sunday 8th. September) , UNESCO reminded the international community of the status of literacy and adult learning globally.

Despite many and varied efforts, literacy remains an elusive target: some 793 million adults worldwide lack minimum literacy skills, which means that about one in six adults is still not literate; 67.4 million children are out-of-school and many more attend irregularly or drop out.

In Scotland, literacy remains a critical issue with one in five children at Primary School struggling with literacy.

This disappointing statistic came from research commissioned by the Scottish Labour Party in 2008.

They commissioned a group of writers, academics, educationalists and business people to investigate child literacy standards in Scotland.

The final report, published in December 2009, found that as many as 25 percent of Scottish pupils were leaving primary school without the basic literacy skills to function in a modern society.

To successfully tackle the problem of low literacy levels, the commission urged the adoption of a policy of zero tolerance to illiteracy across the board.

The commission’s zero tolerance of illiteracy is a far stronger commitment than the UK Government’s policy of 95 percent of adults having functional literacy by 2020.

The Scottish Survey of Adult Literacies 2009 is the official source for information on adult literacies skills.

Their findings show:

This year’s International Literacy Day was dedicated to “literacies for the 21st century” to highlight the need to realize “basic literacy skills for all” as well as equip everyone with more advanced literacy skills as part of lifelong learning.

 In Scotland, in the context of the growth in many public and private services defaulting to electronic submission, functional literacies might include 'reading' a web page, conducting a web search and applying for a social security benefit online.

In Dundee, adult literacy and numeracy classes and help with using a computer are organised by staff based at

Mitchell Street Centre.
Mitchell Street Centre, Mitchell Street Dundee, DD2 2LJ
Telephone 01382 435808
Opening Times: Monday,
9 am to 7 pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 9 am to 9 pm Friday, 9 am to 5 pm