One in five 15-year-old Europeans, as well as nearly 75 million adults, lack basic reading and writing skills. Not only does this make it hard for them to find a job, it also increases their risk of poverty and social exclusion, limiting numerous opportunities of cultural participation, lifelong learning and personal growth. Literacy is fundamental to human development as it enables people to live full and meaningful lives and contribute towards the enrichment of the communities in which we all live.
The European Literacy Policy Network ELINET aims at improving literacy policies in its members´ countries in order to reduce the number of children, young people and adults with low literacy skills in Europe. The network was established in February 2014 and received a €3 million grant from the European Commission to complete a two-year work programme. This is targeted to develop evidence-based tools for all actors in the diverse field of literacy locally, regionally, nationally and transnationally, as well as support existing and initiate new activities. ELINET is made up of 79 partner organizations from 28 countries (of which 24 are EU Member States).
Those partners comprise existing literacy networks and national literacy associations, education ministries and national agencies, international organizations (like UNESCO), foundations and NGO´s, universities, research centres and teacher training institutions, volunteer organizations and other stakeholder groups working in the field of literacy. The network is coordinated by the University of Cologne.
ELINET follows the European Union High Level Group of Experts on Literacy which was established by the European Commission in January 2011 and reported in September 2012. This group examined how to support literacy throughout lifelong learning, identified common success factors of literacy programmes and policy initiatives, and came up with proposals for improving literacy.
ELINET intends to further expand and deepen the knowledge base of this report in working out separate Literacy Reports for all involved 28 countries, to develop a common European framework of Good Practice in Literacy Policies across all age groups and to identify and exchange good practice examples based on this framework. A major task of the network will consist of developing a strategic concept and corresponding tools for raising awareness about the importance of literacy issues among stakeholders, including policy makers, based on research of best practice examples throughout Europe. Additionally, ELINET will develop and pilot indicators for measuring the impact of awareness raising activities and will investigate funding sources for literacy promotion in order to develop tools and strategies for effective fundraising.
As a major tool for communicating within the network and sharing its various outcomes with the broader public, a common European Literacy Platform will be created where all reports, good practice examples and toolkits will be available. This online platform will provide continuous information about ELINET and its activities and facilitate communication among those interested in the development of literacy policy. It will soon be available under: http://www.eli-net.eu/