*Republished from the October 2013 issue of The Kayseean
By Candace Whitner
Do you remember what you were doing on September 8th this year? Perhaps you spent the day working on homework that you forgot about or went out to eat with your family. In either case, this particular Sunday passed by uneventfully and classes began all too soon again the next day. However, did you know that September 8th is International Literacy Day?
International Literacy Day was established in 1965 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). It is meant to promote international education and, according to UNESCO, is meant to remind the world that “literacy is a human right and the foundation of all learning.” The UNESCO website page explains its belief that “a good quality basic education equips pupils with literacy skills for life and further learning; literate parents are more likely to send their children to school; literate people are better able to access continuing educational opportunities; and literate societies are better geared to meet pressing development. ”So, what did you do on International Literacy Day? Did you do something to promote international education on that day or education within your own community? You do not need to be an education major to promote learning around the world. Of course, we greatly value our education majors and applaud their hard work, but why does this need to keep you from doing something about the state of education within our own country and around the world? Perhaps it is time that we think of more than just our own education and look at how we intend to use our areas of study to better the world around us, not just after college, but even in school this very minute. There are all kinds of volunteer opportunities in our local community and throughout the world. Why not participate in a Reading Day in one of the local elementary schools or volunteer to read at the Bristol Public Library? If you want to focus on the international community, then why not donate to a non-profit organization promoting education? Or work with groups like Safe World Nexus to educate communities on safe water? It might be a good idea to work with a group like ELIC (English Language Institute of China) to work abroad as an English teacher.
There are so many ways to better the world through education and literacy. Why wait until after college? You are perfectly capable of making a difference today too. So remember International Literacy Day and find ways to help people, both locally and internationally, to receive education in all areas of life.