Literacy for all to ensure sustainable development

4 September 2015

Since the adoption of the Education for All (EFA) goals in Dakar, Senegal, in 2000, the world has made progress in promoting basic education. However, the number of young people and adults lacking literacy and basic skills, estimated at 757 million, remains unacceptably high. Real progress towards lifelong learning for all, as envisaged in the recently adopted Framework for Action Education 2030, can only be achieved by tackling the challenge of low adult literacy levels in all countries. This year’s International Literacy Day affords the opportunity to respect literacy as a human right that must be accorded to all.

UN Member States prepare to adopt a new agenda for education and development at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015 – an agenda that will guide action for the next 15 years – literacy for all must be seen as a precondition for sustainable development. Realizing the goal of lifelong learning for all requires that every child, youth and adult develops literacy skills to a level of proficiency that allows them to fully participate in society. The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) will continue to work with Member States to ensure the integration of a lifelong learning perspective into the development of policies and strategies that foster personal growth, social cohesion and sustainable development.

As we celebrate International Literacy Day, the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning is launching five new publications:

  1. Transforming our World: Literacy for Sustainable Development(selected case studies from LitBase
  2. Learning Families: Intergenerational Approaches to Literacy Teaching and Learning
  3. RAMAA. Recherche-action sur la mesure des apprentissages des bénéficiaires des programmes d’alphabétisation – Resultat de la première phase 2011-2014
  4. The Evolution and Impact of Literacy Campaigns and Programmes, 2000–2014
  5. Lifelong Literacy (special issue of International Review of Education – Journal of Lifelong Learning

These complement two other UIL recent publications on literacy:

  1. Action Research to Improve Youth and Adult Literacy: Empowering Learners in a Multilingual World
  2. Recherche-action: améliorer l’alphabétisation des jeunes et des adultes – Autonomiser les apprenants dans un monde multilingue (French translation of the Action Research volume above)

To learn about literacy programmes from Chile, Madagascar, Mozambique, Slovakia and Sri Lanka that have been awarded the 2015 UNESCO Literacy Prize, please visit UNESCO’s Effective Literacy and Numeracy Practices Database (LitBase).