The General Assembly of the UNO proclaimed the year 1990 the International Year of Illiteracy, certainly rightly, as the illiteracy referring to nearly one third of the world’s population still ranks among problems of most cogency the manking has to solve. The goal of this article is to direct the reader’s attention to scome facts that refer to the illiteracy in general, and especially to point at a newly discovered form of it, the so called functional illiteracy. The importance of this phenomenon which occurs especially in industrially advanced countries, is apparent on the basis of a nunber of statistic data which are presented in the text. Further on one speaks here about some alphabetic campaignes, e. g. about those which took place in the U.S.S.R, in the Chinese People’s Republicc, about the programme for the International Year of Alphabetization which, at the same time, expresses general tendencies of the struggle to overcome the illiteracy in individual countries and about the possible causes of functional illiteracy. It is obvious that illiteracy still exists as a wholeworld problem, and this article takes the liberty to remind the readers of the fact that this struggle against it is henceforth highly topical.