The present draft of the Framework for Action for the forthcoming CONFINTEA meeting in Belem is weak and there are some key areas where it needs to be strengthened.
A remarkable 14 million people were mobilsed in over 100 countries during the 2009 Global Action Week on the BIG READ, asking for action on Adult Literacy and Lifelong Learning. GCE has ten key messages for CONFINTEA taking place in Belem, December 2009.
1. Youth and adult education must be recognised as enforceable human rights (see comment 13 on the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights) and discrimination in provision must not be tolerated.
2. Youth and adult education should be seen as the invisible glue, essential for the achievement of MDGs and national development goals; requiring inter-ministerial collaboration and active participation of civil society at all levels.
3. Literacy must be seen as a continuum and the old polarized dichotomy of literacy and illiteracy must be abolished. New national surveys are needed that collect data on a spectrum of literacy levels to show the real scale of the challenge and to end the myth of there being a magic line to cross from illiteracy into literacy.
4. There should be no more short term campaigns to eradicate adult literacy. Rather, sustained investment is needed in programmes lasting at least two or three years, with continuity into programmes of lifelong learning.
5. There is an urgent need to develop qualified and professional adult education facilitators, teachers, administrators and researchers - and to ensure they are properly paid.
6. The International Benchmarks on Adult Literacy, published by GCE, should be used as a starting point for new national dialogue, for the design of effective programmes and as a basis for monitoring and evaluation of existing provision.
7. States should commit themselves to allocate a minimum 6% of their GNP to education and, within the education budget, to assign a minimum of 6% for Youth and Adult Education, with a priority given to literacy.
8. At least 6% of aid to education from all donors should go to Youth and Adult Education in order to fill the financing gap in this area, which is at least two billion dollars a year.
9. The EFA Fast Track Initiative, and any future global financing mechanism for education, should actively require education sector plans to include credible strategies and investment to address adult literacy.
10. The International Monetary Fund macro-economic conditions that undermine investment in education should be challenged, especially in the present context of global recession, so that States can adequately invest in the full EFA agenda. The G20 should not give the funds they have pledged to the IMF until there is real reform of the conditions that block investment in education.