Improving the status of literacy teachers

© ARED, Dakar

Literacy plays a vital role in empowering people to become agents of positive social change in their communities. Although tasked with ensuring quality, adult literacy teachers and facilitators are often under-paid, poorly trained and work in unfavourable conditions. We must address the status and working conditions of adult literacy teachers if we are to help the estimated 800 million youth and adults with poor or no literacy skills. The case of South Sudan exemplifies the need for new measures, as there are no recognized providers of adult literacy training at any of the country’s universities, and little funding for adult literacy programmes due to the prioritization of primary education. This is leading to a marginalization of literacy facilitators and contributes to the vicious cycle of low literacy rates.

In response to this urgent need, the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL), in cooperation with the Federal Ministry of Education in Ethiopia, the UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA), the UNESCO Addis Ababa Liaison Office and the Institute for International Cooperation of the German Adult Education Association (dvv international), is organising a workshop to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 25 to 29 March, 2013. It will bring together seven country teams from Africa (Ethiopia, Nigeria and South Sudan), the Arab Region (Egypt) and Asia (Afghanistan, Indonesia and Nepal), each comprised of government and civil society representatives. The objectives of this workshop are to gain insights and build capacities, to share best practices and to identify priority areas for action to improve the status of literacy facilitators. Each team will also draft an action plan, with concrete timelines and indicators.