The European Commission and UNESCO have called for joint action to reduce the number of young people and adults lacking basic reading and writing skills, both in Europe and world-wide, at a meeting in the European Parliament on 22 January.
Androulla Vassiliou, the European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, outlined what the EU can do at the political level to boost literacy. She underlined that, in addition to investing in education, everyone can contribute to improving literacy levels, from parents to employers and health services.
"The political will is there", said the Commissioner, "but from now on making concrete progress will require real and sustainable commitment from all relevant players, it will require developing wider awareness of the challenge posed by literacy, and it will require more cross-cooperation across borders".
H.R.H. Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, chair of the EU High Level Group on Literacy and special envoy for UNESCO on Literacy for Development, presented the main findings of the group's report, which includes recommendations to policy-makers covering all age groups from young children to adults.
Mmantsetsa Marope, Director for Basic Learning and Skills Development at UNESCO, presented UNESCO’s strategy to improve literacy-rates through formal and non-formal programmes. The event was hosted by MEP Marietje Schaake.