Promoting Numeracy International Conference in Berlin

(from left) Leanne Ketterlin Geller, Southern Methodist University, Luis Crouch, Global Partnership for Education, and Aarnout Brombacher, Brombacher & Associates South Africa ©UIL

Hosted by the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), an international conference on numeracy was organized by the German cooperation association Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) from 3–4 December in Berlin. The event was designed to explore numeracy as a rising topic at the “Education for All” (EFA) agenda and discuss possibilities to create a movement to promote numeracy, and was attended by around 60 international specialists and academics, bi- and multilateral donors and implementing agencies, representatives of education ministries, non-governmental and civil society organisations as well as the private sector.
While the main focus of the debate was on numeracy in pre-school and early grades of formal education, the keynote speaker Mr Madhav Chavan (Pratham, India), laureate of the WISE Prize 2012, also highlighted the relevance of numeracy education for youth and adults. Panelists from the Department for International Development (DFID), the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), GIZ, Save the Children, and various academic institutions shared insights on ongoing activities, lessons learnt and good practice in numeracy in a diversity of contexts including at school, out-of-school and fragile situations.

The conference divided into groups for several in-depth sessions on

  1. Early grade development and numeracy
  2. Learning outcomes assessment and numeracy
  3. Mobile learning and numeracy, and
  4. Synergies and lessons learnt from literacy: how to fast track numeracy.

UIL participated in the fourth working group, which produced a set of recommendations with regard to goal-setting, kick-starting action and the creation of a community of practice to promote numeracy. The Conference resulted in a number of concrete recommendations for the next steps that will contribute to strengthening the importance of numeracy at the EFA agenda.