International Literacy Day 2010
Literacy: An essential foundation for development
International Literacy Day
|Literacy is a cause for celebration since there are now close to four billion literate people in the world. However, literacy for all – children, youth and adults – is still an unaccomplished goal and an ever moving target. A combination of ambitious goals, insufficient and parallel efforts, inadequate resources and strategies, and continued underestimation of the magnitude and complexity of the task accounts for this unmet goal. Lessons learnt over recent decades show that meeting the goal of universal literacy calls not only for more effective efforts but also for renewed political will and for doing things differently at all levels – locally, nationally and internationally.In its resolution A/RES/56/116, the General Assembly proclaimed the ten year period beginning 1 January 2003 the United Nations Literacy Decade. In resolution A/RES/57/166, the Assembly welcomed the International Plan of Action for the Decade and decided that Unesco should take a coordinating role in activities undertaken at the international level within the framework of the Decade.
Why literacy is important?
Literacy is not just about educating, it is a unique and powerful tool to eradicate poverty and a strong means for social and human progress. The focus of literacy lies in acquiring basic education for all, eradicating poverty, reducing infant mortality, simmering down population growth, reaching gender equality and ensuring constant development, peace and democracy. There are sufficient reasons why literacy is the centre of Education for All (EFA). A good quality basic education equips people with literacy potentials for life and further learning; literate parents are inclined to send their children to school; literate people are prone to access continuing educational opportunities; and educated societies are better geared to keep pace with the pressing development.
Hence literacy is considered as an effective way to enlighten a society and arm it to facing the challenges of life in a stronger and efficient way, raise the level of personal living, create and assist change the society.
UNESCO undertakes capacity-building for sustainable literacy through multidimensional activities. The main areas of capacity-building in the fields of literacy and non-formal education include:
– policy formulation and implementation
– institution building
– planning and management
– curriculum development and materials design
– teaching and learning strategies and methodologies
– training of trainers, as well as facilitators
– developing support structures and mechanisms, as well as learner performance assessment
– monitoring and evaluation
The modalities of capacity development for literacy include training, study visits, peer reviews, South-South and North-South exchanges, networking and partnership-building. Various groups from the governmental and civil society levels are the focus of capacity development, including policy-makers, planners, and programme managers and implementers. The sustainability of any literacy action depends on good capacity, and efforts to improve it must start from an assessment of capacity needs at country level.
A situation analysis, such as that carried out by LIFE countries, is one way of identifying capacity-building needs. Another tool for this purpose is the UNESCO National Education Support Strategy (UNESS).
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