UN Chronicle E-Alert: UN LITERACY DECADE (2003-2012)

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The United Nations recently launched the Literacy Decade (2003-2012) with the theme "Literacy as Freedom". Coordinated by UNESCO, the initiative seeks to give new impetus to efforts worldwide to reduce persistently high rates of illiteracy. One fifth of the world's adultsÂ?over 860 million peopleÂ?cannot read or write; two thirds are women. Another 113 million childrenÂ?the majority of whom are girlsÂ?are not in school and missing out on gaining access to literacy through basic education.

The United Nations recently launched the Literacy Decade (2003-2012) with the theme "Literacy as Freedom". Coordinated by UNESCO, the initiative seeks to give new impetus to efforts worldwide to reduce persistently high rates of illiteracy. One fifth of the world's adults—over 860 million people—cannot read or write; two thirds are women. Another 113 million children—the majority of whom are girls—are not inschool and missing out on gaining access to literacy through basic education.

At the launch on 13 February, Secretary-General Kofi Annan remarked that "literacy is a human right" and "the requisite for a healthy, just and prosperous world". That was "especially true of female literacy". For that reason, the first two years of the Decade will focus on literacy and gender. Governments have pledged to increaseglobal literacy rates by 50 per cent by 2015.

The <b><i>UN Chronicle</i></b> has regularly highlighted the issue of literacy in relation to basiceducation and social development, as well as women's rights. Here are some recentarticles published in the <i>Chronicle</i> on literacy:

<b>Web Article, 2003</b>

· “<a href="'Literacy" onclick="linkClick(this.href)" rel="nofollow">http://www.un.org/Pubs/chronicle/2003/webArticles/022103_literacy.html">'Literacy as Freedom' - United Nations Launches Literacy Decade (2003-2012)</a>”

by Horst Rutsch for the Chronicle.

· “<a href="Promoting" onclick="linkClick(this.href)" rel="nofollow">http://www.un.org/Pubs/chronicle/2003/webArticles/020503_literacy.html">Promoting Literacy for a Decade of Action”</a>

by Liz Willmott for the Chronicle.

<b>Issue 2, 2002</b>

· “<a href="Timor-Leste" onclick="linkClick(this.href)" rel="nofollow">http://www.un.org/Pubs/chronicle/2002/issue2/0202p34_spotlight_on_east_timor.html">Timor-Leste: Education and Health in Focus ...</a>”

Students at the primary and secondary levels represent one third of

Timor-Leste’s population.

<b>Issue 2, 2001</b>

· “<a href="Towards" onclick="linkClick(this.href)" rel="nofollow">http://www.un.org/Pubs/chronicle/2001/issue2/0102p45.htm">Towards Real Mutual Tolerance</a>”

by Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO.

· “<a href="Education" onclick="linkClick(this.href)" rel="nofollow">http://www.un.org/Pubs/chronicle/2001/issue2/0102p47.htm">Education and the Freedom from Exclusion</a>”

by Colette Mazzucelli, Senior Research Fellow at the EastWest Institute, New York.

<b>Issue 2, 1999</b>

· “<a href="Educating" onclick="linkClick(this.href)" rel="nofollow">http://www.un.org/Pubs/chronicle/1999/issue2/0299p39.htm">Educating the Girl Child</a>”

by Mary Joy Pigozzi, Senior Education Advisor, UNICEF.

<b>Issue 4, 1998</b>

· “<a href="Essay" onclick="linkClick(this.href)" rel="nofollow">http://www.un.org/Pubs/chronicle/1998/issue4/498p13.htm">Essay: Living Through that 'Last Resort'</a>”

by Nadine Gordimer, writer and 1991 Nobel Laureate in Literature.

The <i>UN Chronicle</i> is published quarterly in <a href="Englishhttp://www.un.org/chronicle/">English</a>; and <a href="Frenchhttp://www.un.org/french/pubs/chronique/">French</a>;

by the Department of Public Information. Editions in Arabic, Chinese Russian and Spanish are co-published externally. It is not an official record, the views expressed in individual articles do not necessarily imply official endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations.

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