Communication is a basic skill required to interact with fellow humans and to facilitate understanding when developing a society. While nearly every individual learns to communicate verbally, unfortunately not many get a chance for formal education. With the need to eradicate illiteracy in mind, the idea of celebrating an International Literacy Day was first discussed on September 8 to 19, 1965, during the World Conference of Ministers of Education in Tehran, Iran. On October 26, 1966, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) gathered for the 14th general conference and proclaimed that September 8 will be celebrated as International Literacy Day.
This year, the 52nd International Literacy Day will be celebrated on the theme ‘Literacy and skills development’. For ILD 2018, “skills” means knowledge, skills and competencies required for employment, careers and livelihoods, particularly technical and vocational skills, along with transferable and digital skills, read the statement of UN.
To remove the bridge between the literacy, learning and skills development, since 1950s, functional literacy has become an influential concept which is seen as a set of context-dependent skills that can engage a person with those activities in which literacy is required for an effective functioning of his or her group and community. Apart from the education sector, numerous other sectors such as agriculture, labour and health organised integrated programmes in combining literacy, technical and vocational skills, and employability and entrepreneurial skills.
There are multiple factors that contribute to enhancing the effectiveness of these programmes. A review of African experiences, for instance, highlighted two enabling factors. First is the competent, reliable and well-supported teachers or instructors; and the other is the consideration of participants’ interest and conditions in programme design (Oxenham et al., 2002)
Its findings also indicated, among others, the need to offer concrete and immediate benefits (e.g. income generation) to motivate learners, read the UN statement. The renewed focus on integrated approaches is grounded, on the one hand, in persistent literacy and skills challenges, and, on the other, in the new skills demands and impetus generated by the current context of globalisation, digitisation and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.