UNESCO reiterates support for member states on learning, adult literacy


The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has reiterated its support to member states through the Global Education Coalition to ensure lifelong learning and adult literacy.

Mr Borhene Chakroun, UNESCO Director, Division for Policies and Lifelong Learning Systems, said this at the second phase of webinar for the celebration of the 2020 International Literacy Day on Wednesday.

The webinar, which focused on the UNESCO Strategy for Youth and Adult Literacy (2020-2025), was organised by UNESCO Regional office in sub-Saharan Africa.

Newsmen reports that the Global Education Coalition is a platform for collaboration to protect the right to education during the COVID-19 period and beyond.

Chakroun said that the COVID-19 era had presented a challenging situation for the educational sector with uncertainties on when it would end, while adult education had suffered more set back with the pandemic.

According to him, the Youth and Adult Literacy strategy focuses on different areas to ensure that learning in the pandemic era never stops.

“The new literacy strategy has four strategic priority areas, which includes supporting member States in developing national literacy policies and strategies, addressing the learning needs of disadvantaged groups, particularly women and girls.

“It is also leveraging digital technologies to expand access and improve learning outcomes and monitor progress, assessing literacy skills and programmes,’’ he said.

He added that the organisation was working with 150 partners including 70 countries, Civil Society Organisations, the media, academia and the private sector for continuous learning.

The official also said the organization also launched flagship programmes on connectivity, for teachers and engaging gender activities to promote the integral part of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) four.

He added that the future of learning and education needed to be ascertained in the pandemic period and beyond to prevent possible challenges in the sector.

According to him, literacy empowers people and it is needed to develop our current society.

He added that the organisation would continue to collaborate with the African Union towards promoting learning.

Mr. David Atchoarena, UNESCO Director, Institute for Lifelong Learning, said that the organisation conducted a survey to assess the impact of the pandemic on education.

Atchoarena stated that the survey revealed that adult education received less attention in the pandemic era, especially from countries with inappropriate funding to education.

He added that the major determinant of learning was quality and adult literacy needed consistency.

Mrs Antiva Soueran, National Director of Adult Education, Republic of Mozambique, said COVID-19 period should be seen by educationists as an opportunity to develop self-teaching.

She added that it should strengthen the non-formal programmes to reflect on methodology and new approvals for youth and adult literacy.

Ms. Duduzile Simelane, Director for Social and Human Development, South African Development Community, believed that literacy should be connected to the dynamics of the work place and skills development, including digital literacy.

Testimonies were made by UNESCO partners from Senegal, Chad, Kenya and CSOs on their intervention strategies to promote adult literacy in their localities during the meeting.