In 2015, the international community agreed on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, committing to achieving 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs include a global goal on education (SDG 4), which is to ‘ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’.
Youth and adult literacy is the focus of one of the seven targets of SDG 4, reflecting the literacy challenges that persist despite the progress seen in the expansion of access to education, particularly at the formal basic education level, in the past decades. The literacy target (SDG 4.6), in particular, aims to ‘by 2030, ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy’.
While the financial cost of achieving school-related SDG 4 targets (i.e. pre-primary, primary, lower- and upper secondary education) in low and lower-middle income countries has been calculated, the estimated cost of achieving the youth and adult literacy targets of SDG 4 remains unknown. In this context, UNESCO developed a simulation model to assess the cost of achieving SDG 4.6 in the 29 country members of the Global Alliance for Literacy (GAL) (the 20 countries with adult literacy rates lower than 50 per cent and the E-9 countries) which, together, host the largest number of youth and adults with low literacy rates.
In this context, UIL is organizing an expert meeting to estimate the financial investment required for achieving SDG 4.6 in GAL countries and to facilitate a discussion on the importance of investing in literacy as a foundation and integral part of lifelong learning.