Ministers of Education Highlight 21st-Century Literacies on International Literacy Day

TORONTO, September 8, 2013 – Provincial and territorial education ministers are joining today with people around the world to celebrate International Literacy Day (ILD).


ILD was established in 1965 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to promote the value of literacy and encourage greater literacy worldwide. For ILD 2013, UNESCO has chosen the theme “Literacies for the 21st Century” to raise awareness of the multiple and dynamic literacies — text literacy, number literacy, visual literacy, digital literacy — that are becoming essential for full participation in the social and economic life of the modern world.


“CMEC is pleased to add its voice to the global celebration of literacy on this International Literacy Day,” said Dr. Andrew Parkin, Director General of CMEC. “This year's theme draws attention to the expanding definition of literacy in our time. Citizens now need to be able to understand and engage with multiple technologies along with mastering the foundational skills of reading, writing, and mathematics.”


Provinces and territories continue their efforts on literacy through a wide range of programs and initiatives adapted to meet the varied needs of their respective populations. This flexible approach — a defining characteristic of Canada's education systems — ensures that government resources are used to maximum effect and successes are shared among provinces and territories and on the international stage.


Literacy also remains an integral part of the work of CMEC and is addressed in a variety of programs and activities, including education data and learning assessment, international engagement, and early childhood learning and development.


Through CMEC, provinces and territories are also currently participating, in cooperation with Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and other partners, in OECD's flagship assessment of adult skills and learning, the Programme for International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), which evaluates not only literacy and numeracy skills but also the ability to use digital technology, communications tools, and networks.


The first results from PIAAC will be released on October 8, 2013.



About CMEC

Founded in 1967, CMEC is the collective voice of Canada's ministers of education. It provides leadership in education at the pan-Canadian and international levels and contributes to the exercise of the exclusive jurisdiction of provinces and territories over education. For more information, visit us at


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Colin Bailey
Director, Communications
Cell: 416-929-6970
Tel.: 416-962-8100, ext. 259
Twitter: @CCMEC