UNESCO works through its global network, field offices and institutes and with its Member States and partners to advance literacy in the framework of lifelong learning, and address the literacy target 4.6 in SDG4 and the Education 2030 Framework for Action.
Youth and adult literacy
Within the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and with the Education 2030 Framework for Action as a roadmap to achieve the SDG4, UNESCO’s work for youth and adult literacy is centered on five strategies:
- Developing Member States’ capacity in policies, programme delivery and literacy assessments
- Scaling up literacy actions for girls and women
- Reinforcing innovative modes of literacy delivery, including the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs)
- Expanding the knowledge base, monitoring and evaluation
- Advocating for literacy on the global agenda and ensuring synergies between different actions, including through multi-stakeholder partnerships and networks
UNESCO supports the literacy efforts of Member States in the areas of policies, programme delivery and literacy assessment through a range of literacy projects, and the following development programmes:
- Capacity Development for Education (CapED) works to reinforce education reforms, teacher qualifications, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and literacy for youth and adults, especially for girls and women.
- Action Research: Measuring Literacy Programme Participants’ Learning Outcomes (RAMAA) is a regional programme to develop national capacities to evaluate and monitor learning outcomes and the quality of literacy programmes.
Girls’ and women’s literacy
UNESCO promotes gender equality in all of its literacy work by supporting gender-sensitive and gender-responsive policies and through advocacy; strategic partnerships; resource mobilization and targeting programmes for girls and women.
The Global Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s Education: Better Life, Better Future is a multi-sectoral network initiated by UNESCO which supports quality education and literacy learning for girls and women at secondary school level. As part of this the Malala Fund for Girls’ Right to Education works to improve literacy skills of girls and women.
Fostering innovation and harnessing potential of ICTs
UNESCO encourages innovative literacy solutions and access to lifelong learning through the use of ICTs by supporting dialogue and cross-sector collaboration that connects and promotes literacy learning with digital technologies.
- The UNESCO International Literacy Prizes which reward innovation and excellence and promote new approaches in the field of literacy are awarded annually to five laureates at a prize ceremony held on International Literacy Day.
- The UNESCO-Pearson Initiative for Literacy – Improved Livelihoods in a Digital World is a collaborative project between Pearson and UNESCO which explores new ways of enabling low-skilled and low-literate youth and adults to profit from inclusive digital technologies and in turn strengthen their literacy skills.
- Mobile Learning Week is UNESCO’s annual flagship ICT in education conference to promote understanding of how technology can be used to improve education, including literacy.
Knowledge base, monitoring and evaluation
UNESCO has a clearinghouse function that provides cutting-edge research on literacy from around the world, based on monitoring and evaluation of literacy progress and best practices.
- UNESCO’s Effective Literacy and Numeracy Database (LitBase) is an online platform by UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning UIL which informs about effective literacy and numeracy practices in a lifelong learning perspective.
- UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS) is UNESCO’s primary source for statistics on literacy. It covers more than 200 countries and territories and provides new data and an eAtlas on literacy every year on International Literacy Day.
- Global Alliance to Monitor Learning (GAML) is a multi-stakeholder alliance established by UIS to measure learning globally and advise countries how to achieve SDG4 based on the information.
- Global Education Monitoring Report (GEM) is an independent and evidence-based annual report published by UNESCO to monitor progress towards education targets in the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals.
- Global Report of Adult Learning and Education (GRALE) is a global report by UIL which assesses global progress of adult learning and education (ALE).
Advocacy and building partnerships
UNESCO advocates for literacy through global consultations and events, major initiatives and cross-sector partnerships to create awareness and place literacy on the global agenda.
- International Literacy Day (ILD) is a major annual event for literacy advocacy held on the 8 September since 1946. UNESCO organizes a global event with an ILP award ceremony, and celebrations are held around the world by Field Offices, Institutes, NGOs, teachers, learners and partners.
- Global Alliance for Literacy (GAL) is a multisector partnership under UIL, established in 2016 on the 50th anniversary of ILD, to accelerate literacy progress in the framework of lifelong learning.
- UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Programme is a network promoting international inter-university cooperation, to reinforce learning capacities through dialogue and knowledge sharing.