The establishment of a European area of lifelong learning is expected to empower citizens to meet the challenges of the knowledge-based society at the same time that it contributes to meeting the goals and ambitions of the European Union and the accession countries to be more prosperous, inclusive, tolerant and democratic. An underlying assumption in the provision of lifelong learning opportunities is that the citizens have the basic literacy skills to build on so that they continue on learning.
The need for a more articulated policy agenda on literacy in the context of lifelong learning is also echoed at the global level with the DAKAR Education for All (EFA) goals and more recently, with the launching of the UN Literacy Decade (UNLD). It is often assumed that Europe has achieved basic education for all hence there is no need to join in the discussions related to EFA . Recent statistics (e.g. PISA results) and national studies however point to the decline in standards as well as uneven access to basic skills opportunities especially to a number of disadvantaged groups. Furthermore, the launching of the UNLD (2003-2012) is an excellent opportunity to review the policies and practices in the region not only to cull lessons and improve practices in the region, but also to share with other regions in the world.
It is in this context that the UNESCO Institute of Education (UIE), the UNESCO French National Commission, the Agence Nationale de Lutte Contre L´Illetrisme (ANCLI) and the European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA) are organizing this first ever regional meeting on literacy in Europe. With support from the European Union (EU), this meeting will bring together policy makers, research institutes, universities, public and private providers of literacy and other stakeholders to discuss main issues and trends in literacy in the region. It is expected that such discussion will contribute to improved policy implementation and innovative literacy practices.
The objectives of the regional meeting are:
- to present and analyze trends on literacy in the region;
- to examine the status of countries vis-à-vis EFA goals on literacy;
- to highlight good practices that could be used to improve literacy programmes; and
- to develop possible areas of collaboration and corresponding action plans.
Senior Research Specialist
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