The publication examines the many dimensions of youth and adult literacy set in the context of development and shows how it connects with other societal challenges such as gender equality, and poverty reduction. Although literacy is at the core of the Education for All goals, three-quarters of the 127 countries for which projections were calculated will miss the target of halving adult illiteracy rates by 2015; moreover, the literacy gender gap is closing too slowly: 63 per cent of illiterate adults were women in 1985-1994, compared to 64 per cent in 2000-2006. The Global Literacy Challenge discusses the expanded vision of literacy in today’s knowledge societies. Essential elements for effective action in literacy are addressed: policy-making, design and delivery of quality literacy programmes, research to provide evidence, assessment of literacy levels, monitoring and evaluation, adequate funding, and partnerships. It concludes with a call for renewed momentum through greater commitment, improved programme delivery and increased resources.
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