International Seminar in Indonesia on Improving Literacy


The Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture invited two literacy specialists from the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, together with two other specialists from UNESCO Headquarters and the UNESCO Regional Office in Bangkok, as resource persons for an International seminar on improving literacy based on mother tongue and ICTs, which took place from 31 October to 03 November 2012 in Jakarta, Indonesia. The seminar, entitled “Enhancing inclusion and equity of digital literacy for all”, was a follow-up of the Eighth E-9 ministerial review meeting on Education for All held in June 2010 in Abuja, Nigeria.

The meeting was attended by roughly 100 participants from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Philippines, Thailand and Timor Leste, and provided a platform for sharing experiences and innovative practices. The inputs of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning on measuring adult learners’ competencies and adult literacy in multilingual contexts prepared the ground for group discussions. These resulted in recommendations concerning

  1. Increased quality in adult literacy through mother tongue-based programmes
  2. Expanded and equal access to ICT-supported literacy programmes for disadvantaged populations in remote areas, and
  3. Improved quality of adult literacy learning through strengthened capacities and accreditation of literacy providers.

Participants of the international seminar were also provided with several opportunities to visit community learning and empowerment institutions such as community reading centres, “Smart House” (different activity components under one roof) facilities and learning lounges located in large shopping malls in the city of Jakarta and sponsored by the private sector under the umbrella of Corporate Social Responsibility. All these learning facilities, which are open to the general public, are equipped with libraries, meeting rooms, computers and free Internet access. Participants also attended the annual community reading centres festival entitled “Indonesia reads: Improve literacy and develop character”, which featured 74 exhibition booths this year.

The UNESCO resource persons were given the opportunity in several press conferences and a TV talk show to express their views on the topic of the seminar and highlight the impressive achievements Indonesia has made in improving its adult literacy rates in recent years.