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A COMPARATIVE STUDY ON NATIONAL

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					 A COMPARATIVE STUDY ON NATIONAL CONCEPTIONS OF

          LITERACY, NUMERACY AND LIFE SKILLS




                    Dr. Maria Ester Mancebo

                           April 2005



(Prepared for the International Bureau of Education, IBE – UNESCO)
TABLE OF CONTENTS



BACKGROUND


DATA SOURCES AND METHODOLOGY


FINDINGS

     A.    INTRODUCING A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE

             1.    Comparative analysis of National Reports submitted in 1990 and
                   2004

             1.1   References to the terms ‗literacy‘, ‗functional literacy‘ and ‗other
                   literacies‘
             1.2   Conceptualisations and definitions of ‗literacy‘ and ‗functional
                   literacy‘
             1.3   References to the terms ‗numeracy‘ and ‗life skills‘
             1.4   Foci of the fight against illiteracy
             1.5   Languages in literacy


             2.    Eradication of illiteracy in questionnaires presented to the 42nd ICE
                   in 1990


     B.    ANALYTICAL CONCLUSIONS ON CHANGES IN CONCEPTIONS
           AND PRACTICES


REFERENCES


TABLES


ANNEXES




                                                                                      2
BACKGROUND


The Dakar Framework of Action established the commitment of the international
community to achieve a 50 percent improvement in levels of adult literacy by 2015 (Goal
4) and to ensure that the learning needs of all young people and adults are met through
equitable access to appropriate learning and life-skills programmes (Goal 3).

      The aim of this study is to make a contribution to the promotion of these goals by
examining the evolution of national conceptualisations of literacy, numeracy and life skills
between 1990 and 2004 and linking them to educational practices in the field.



DATA SOURCES AND METHODOLOGY

The main sources of data used in this study were:

       The National Reports (NRs) submitted in 2004 to the 47th session of the
        International Conference on Education (ICE) on the theme Quality education for all
        young people: challenges, trends and priorities (Geneva, September 2004). Almost
        all the documents were prepared for the 2004 ICE, thus covering the topics included
        in the guidelines for the preparation of the reports, e.g. competencies for life,
        education and social inclusion, and education for sustainable development. Two
        further topics were considered in the analysis carried out: competency-based
        education and literacy.

       The NRs submitted in 1990 to the 42nd session of the ICE that adopted the
        Recommendation No. 77 concerning The struggle against illiteracy: operational
        policies, strategies and programmes for the 1990s (Geneva, September 1990)1. Out
        of the 74 National Reports presented in 1990, a total of 60 were used as sources of
        data for the constant cases analysis.

       The Replies to the questionnaire prepared by the International Bureau of Education
        (IBE) in preparation for the 42nd session of the ICE. A total of 105 UNESCO
        Member States replied to the survey on the eradication or massive reduction of
        illiteracy.

All the 2004 NRs were analysed on the basis of a coding scheme used within the
framework of another study (see A study of conceptualisations of literacy, numeracy and
life skills contained in country reports for ICE 2004 by Markus Maurer, which includes an
analysis of the findings). A simplified version of this coding scheme (see Annex IV) was
used to code the 1990 NRs and to re-process 2004 data.

1
 The Conference discussed the following matters: ‗Education for all: renewed policies and strategies for the
1990s‘ and ‗The struggle against illiteracy through universal primary education and adult education:
operational aspects emphasizing the active participation of the learner‘.


                                                                                                          3
       From the methodological point of view, the study adopts a comparative perspective
and combines qualitative and quantitative approaches in an effort to advance in the
comprehension of the concepts of literacy, numeracy and life skills throughout 1990–2004.
The comparison focuses on the 60 constant cases. Table 1 shows the distribution of these
cases by world classification, income levels and EFA regions:

         Seventy-five percent of the constant cases are developing countries while 23% are
          developed nations. As the ‗transition‘ category consists of only one country, it was
          not used in the analysis.
         Around 30% of the countries are ‗high income‘, 25% ‗medium income‘ and around
          45% are ‗low income‘. It should be noted that the classification by income level
          exhibits slight differences between 1990 and 2004.
         Finally, concerning the EFA regions the breakdown of countries is as follows: Arab
          States (AS), seven cases; Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), four cases; East Asia
          and the Pacific (EAPA), seven cases; Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) nine
          cases; North America and Western Europe (NAWE), eleven cases; Sub-Saharan
          Africa (SSA), seventeen cases; and South and West Asia (SWA), five cases. It must
          be noted that the number of cases in the CEE and SWA regions is limited.


FINDINGS


A.       INTRODUCING A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE


1. Comparative analysis of National Reports submitted in 1990 and 2004


1.1 References to the terms „literacy‟, „functional literacy‟ and „other literacies‟

The term ‗literacy‘ was more frequently mentioned in 1990 than in 2004. Eighty-eight
percent of countries used the term in 1990, as opposed to 78% in 2004. This decrease has
taken place in both developed and developing countries, and in high- and low-income
countries. Medium-income countries and those belonging to the EAPA region have not
followed this trend (see Tables 2, 3 and 4).

        As regards the term ‗functional literacy‘, the 1990 NRs clearly show that it was used
far less than ‗literacy‘: among the constant cases, 88% of countries made reference to
‗literacy‘ while only 48% mentioned ‗functional literacy‘. Fifteen years later, the term
seems to have lost even more relevance, since only 27% of countries used it.

       Conversely, references to ‗other literacies‘ have become more frequent over the
period 1990–2004. However, there are significant differences among the countries. On the
one hand, the growing accent on this category in developed and high-income countries


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compensates for the abrupt decline in ‗functional literacy‘; this is not evident in the case of
developing, medium- and low-income countries. On the other hand, the term ‗functional
literacy‘ was practically replaced by ‗other literacies‘ in the NAWE region, lost prominence
in LAC without being replaced (only 11% of LAC countries refer to ‗other literacies‘ in
their 2004 reports), and continues to be frequently mentioned in SSA—which is reasonable
considering how serious the problem of illiteracy is in the region.

        In fact, the category ‗other literacies‘ includes a variety of concepts, from ‗post-
literacy‘ or ‗post-alphabetisation‘ (Afghanistan, Angola, Cameroon, Colombia, Congo,
Cuba, Guatemala, Guinea, India, Morocco, Peru, Tanzania, Thailand), to ‗computer
literacy‘ (Australia, Austria, Nigeria, Iran), ‗information literacy‘ (Japan) or ‗media literacy
and computer literacy‘ (Finland). The list of constant cases in Annex II indicates that
‗computer/technological/digital literacy‘ is used in association with teacher training,
secondary education, higher education and adult education. Two countries, Portugal and
Argentina, refer to the fight against digital illiteracy as a strategy to foster social/cultural
inclusion.


1.2 Conceptualisations and definitions of „literacy‟ and „functional literacy‟

Even though the main theme of the 1990 ICE was the ‗eradication of illiteracy‘, half of the
countries did not provide a definition of ‗literacy‘ in their national reports; this proportion
reached 83% in the 2004 NRs (see Table 5).

        Some of the countries that did provide explicit definitions of ‗literacy‘ confined the
term to ‗reading and writing‘: 15% and 7% in 1990 and 2004, respectively. However, most
of them either included ‗numeracy‘ (17% in 1990 and 3% in 2004) or ‗numeracy‘ and
‗other skills (17% in 1990 and 7% in 2004).

         In 1990, developing countries emphasized numeracy and other skills, with only 13%
restricting the term ‗literacy‘ to reading and writing. In 2004, this emphasis spread to
developed countries, with 7% of definitions limited to reading and writing while 14% boast
more elaborate definitions. This trend is quite evident in the NAWE region (see Tables 6
and 7). The following are examples of the inclusion of ‗other skills‘ in definitions of
literacy in the 1990 NRs:

       ―Reading, writing, calculating and problem-solving skills necessary to function
       effectively in their jobs.‖ (United States of America, 1990: 56.)

       ―The adult illiterates will learn to read and write and they will acquire some basic
       skills to play their role in the development process of the country.‖ (Iran, 1990: 38)

       ―Elimination of illiteracy should be tied to the social and economic development
       and the teaching of reading and writing skills should be combined with the
       spreading of practical knowledge of science and technology... Illiterates should not
       only be provided with basic skills to read, write and arithmetic but also an



                                                                                              5
       opportunity to master a few practical technical skills needed in the rural areas.‖
       (China, 1990: 39)

       ―Alfabetización y postalfabetización comprende al conjunto de experiencias que se
       orientan a la formación de lectores-escritores con capacidad de interpretar y
       transformar su realidad.‖ (Colombia, 1990: 21)

Only 15% of countries included definitions of ‗functional literacy‘ in 1990 and the figure
dropped to 7% in the most recent period. In 2004, the two EFA regions where the term had
not lost relevance were EAPA and SSA (see Table 10). Therefore, the actual definitions
that could be analysed for this study were few, with a clear prevalence of definitions of
functional literacy as reading, writing, numeracy and other skills, in both 1990 and 2004.

       ―Functional literacy means reading skills which enable the individual to promote the
       development of society and his/her own personal development. It means skills in
       reading and writing texts, media literacy and computer literacy.‖ (Finland, 1990:
       104)

       ―La alfabetización funcional en el medio rural (EFA) desarrollada por los Equipos
       de Educación Fundamental ofrece desde 1975, la lectura, la escritura y el cálculo
       (1ro. y 2do. Nivel) en forma global e integrada en áreas como agropecuarias, salud,
       hogar, artesanías, recreación, organización comunitaria, mejoramiento de vivienda y
       otras que demanden los grupos atendidos, según su ubicación geográfica, su trabajo,
       sus necesidades y aspiraciones, constituyéndose así en educación no formal.‖
       (Colombia, 1990: 36)

       ―The concept of literacy meant in the past the ability to read a single sentence and
       make basic computations is no longer adequate. By the next century functional
       literacy would mean not only the skills of simple literacy but also skills essential to
       live in a technological society, knowledge of international languages and even
       computer literacy. This is the challenge we will face in the next century and our
       deliberations should assist us to find answers to meet these challenges.‖ (Sri Lanka,
       1990: 13)

Besides explicit definitions, in 1990 some countries linked the term ‗functional‘ to the
pedagogical methods that should be used to teach illiterates:

       ―Elle est devenue une alphabétisation fonctionnelle c‘est-à-dire qui tien compte de
       l‘activité professionnelle de l‘apprenant, de ses besoins et aspirations, de son
       environnement, de ses réalités quotidiennes. ‖ (Cameroon, 1990: 23)

       ―Cette alphabétisation dite traditionnelle consistait à lire et à écrire sans tenir
       compte des occupations quotidiennes des apprenants… Au regard des résultats
       obtenus à travers le programme expérimental mondial d‘alphabétisation, le service
       national d‘alphabétisation (SNA) a décidé de la généralisation de la méthode
       fonctionnelle en la rendant de plus en plus sélective au niveau des groupements



                                                                                            6
       spécifiques agissant dans les différent secteurs économiques (agriculture, …).‖
       (Guinea, 1990: 17)


A qualitative analysis of the 2004 NRs shows at least five main approaches to functional
literacy: the term is linked to non-formal education; it is mentioned in conjunction with
vocational education; it is considered as a channel for disseminating information; it is
conceived as a strategy to fight against poverty; and it is viewed as a pre-requisite for
development.

          ‗Functional literacy‘ linked to problem-solving in the context of adult/non-
           formal education:

           ―There is also a functional literacy program targeting illiterate adults. This
           programme emphasizes the integration of literacy and problem-solving skills to
           improve quality of life. In 5 Southern border provinces, there are activities to
           promote Thai language usage among Thai Muslims. Furthermore, education
           services to promote literacy are provided among the hill tribes using non-formal
           education volunteer teachers. […]‖ (Thailand)

          Functional literacy mentioned in conjunction with vocational education:

           ―Ce système d‘apprentissage (duale) reposera avant tout sur le principe que deux
           institutions juridiquement distinctes, à savoir les entreprises ou organisations
           autonomes de l‘économie et l‘Etat à travers ses établissements de formation vont
           se partager la responsabilité de la formation et coopérer à la réalisation d‘un
           objectif commun : la qualification professionnelle des apprentis.
           Il s‘agira à cet effet, d‘introduire un système d‘«Accompagnement de
           l’Apprentissage» qui consistera à ajouter aux formations pratiques - réalisées
           dans les entreprises - une composante quasi-scolaire à réaliser dans les
           établissements de l‘ETFP. Ce système sera caractérisé par deux lieux de
           formation, l‘entreprise et l‘école professionnelle ...
           Le contenu de cette formation doit être en rapport avec la formation reçue en
           atelier ou en entreprise. Il doit faciliter la formation pratique en entreprise en
           transférant aux apprentis des connaissances techniques et technologiques ainsi
           que des capacités professionnelles spécifiques à l‘exécution des travaux
           productifs dans un ou plusieurs champs d‘activités d‘un métier. En outre, il doit
           permettre à l‘apprenti d‘approfondir les fondements de sa formation générale,
           par le     moyen d‘une alphabétisation fonctionnelle, et de recevoir des
           informations sur la société et la vie professionnelle.‖ (Benin)


          Functional literacy as a channel to disseminate different kinds of information
           among the poorer parts of the population:



                                                                                           7
           ―The Government began a functional adult literacy programme in 1986. The
           programme was designed primarily to meet the needs of smallholder farmers.
           Various organizations make use of the literacy programme to disseminate
           information, education and communication packages to the target population.‖
           (Malawi)


          Functional literacy as a strategy to reduce poverty:

           ―En République Centrafricaine le taux d‘analphabétisme cumulé est de 50,85%.
           Le taux d‘alphabétisme des personnes âgées de 10 ans et plus avoisine 46,6%
           pour les hommes contre 23% pour les femmes. C‘est ce qui a conduit le
           gouvernement à mettre en place un programme d‘alphabétisation fonctionnelle
           visant les objectifs suivants: réduire ou éradiquer le taux d‘analphabétisme sur
           toute l‘étendue du territoire national, améliorer les conditions de vie des paysans
           dans le domaine de la santé et de l‘hygiène, augmenter le niveau de vie de la
           population en élevage, en commerce, civisme.‖ (Central African Republic)

          Functional literacy as a pre-requisite for development:

           ―Dans la perspective d‘une éducation pour tous qui exige un élargissement de
           l‘offre éducative, les objectifs poursuivis par le Gouvernement à l‘intention des
           adultes analphabètes sont les suivants:
           a. Consolider les acquis et éradiquer totalement l'analphabétisme des adultes,
               en priorité chez les femmes rurales âgées de 15 à 49 ans, pour renforcer leurs
               capacités à contribuer au développement ;
           b. Développer les capacités de planification et de gestion du sous-secteur dans
               le cadre d‘un partenariat renforcé avec les autres ministères et les différents
               opérateurs, pour faciliter l'intégration de l'alphabétisation dans les divers
               projets de développement ;
           c. Stabiliser un programme national d‘alphabétisation destiné à assurer une
               éducation de base de qualité. ‖ (Senegal)

           ―La población de jóvenes y adultos sin primaria completa--para los efectos
           prácticos, analfabetos funcionales--requiere una formación no sólo académica,
           sino también físico-deportiva y laboral para insertarse exitosamente en la vida
           económica de la sociedad. Por el otro lado, las inversiones ligadas al desarrollo
           de los conglomerados identificados en el Plan Nacional de Desarrollo (2003),
           necesitan recursos humanos con mayor capacidad de absorción del manejo de
           nuevas tecnologías y nuevos métodos de trabajo.‖ (Nicaragua)



1.3 References to the terms „numeracy‟ and „life skills‟

Specialists recognise the existence of two contrasting views of ‗numeracy‘. The first limits
the term to arithmetic calculations while the second includes mathematics and ways of

                                                                                            8
thinking mathematically (Tuijman, 1996). This dichotomy cannot be traced in the 1990 and
2004 NRs since references to ‗numeracy‘ are scarce, with 20% and 23% of mentions,
respectively (Table 11).

       Evolution in the use of the term is not uniform in all areas: developed countries use
the word much more now than in the 1990s (21% as opposed to 7%), while in developing
countries its presence has remained constant (24%) (Table 12). The two EFA regions
showing significant growth are NAWE (no references in 1990, 18% in 2004) and LAC (no
references in 1990, 11% in 2004). From this point of view, LAC is an exception in the
developing world (Table 1).

        To the contrary, ‗life skills‘ appears as a strong emerging concept in most parts of
the world, with 83% of mentions in 2004 NRs. This is a considerable increase as compared
to 1990, when only 32 percent of the countries used the term. Growth is present worldwide:
in developed and developing countries, in high, medium and low-income countries and in
all EFA regions (except for EAPA, where it was already very frequent in 1990).
Furthermore, references to ‗key competencies‘ have doubled over the last fifteen years,
particularly in developed, high- and medium-income countries.

       The following are examples of the use of the term ‗life skills‘ in 1990 NRs:

       Bahrain mentions critical thinking and analytical abilities.

       Saudi Arabia adds problem-solving to critical thinking.

       Apart from critical thinking and problem-solving, Thailand includes self-directed
       learning and basic learning tools.

       Austria speaks of ‗practical skills necessary for everyday life‘ (1990: 22).

       Australia states that ‗social, health and creative skills are also taught (in primary
       school).‘ (1990: 1)

       Jordan mentions critical thinking, inquiry, practical problem-solving, conceptual,
       analytical and information processing skills.

       The USA speaks of complex thinking skills, reasoning, and analytical abilities.

       China refers to practical skills, technical skills, and labour skills.

       The Republic of Korea mentions communication skills, home management skills,
       public conduct skills, citizenship-related skills, transportation utilizing skills, social-
       cultural participation skills, critical thinking, inquiry skills, creativity, moral
       consciousness, and problem-solving.

       Malaysia lists thinking skills, technological competence, living skills, manipulative
       skills, and basic functional skills for daily living


                                                                                                9
           Malaysia also describes a new subject called ‗Living skills‘, that was introduced in
           secondary curricula in 1989: ‗The living skills programme focuses on developing in
           students interactive skills and basic functional skills for daily living. It aims to
           produce individuals who are literate in technology and economics and who are self-
           reliant and confident, who posses initiative, and are creative, innovative and
           productive. It emphasises also the acquisition of good work habits and good
           business ethics.‘ (1990: 42)

In 2004 references were longer, more elaborate and indicate the coexistence of four
different conceptions of ‗life-skills‘2:

          Life-Skills education as teaching of practical, technical skills or labour-oriented
           skills (Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Guyana):

           ‗Primary school curriculum is renewed to include Life-Skills and gainful skills so
           that students who for some reason cannot go beyond grade 9, can join the world of
           work.‘ (Afghanistan)


          Life-Skills education as teaching of personal, social and health competencies in
           Primary and Secondary School (Bahrain, Guyana, Nicaragua, Turkey):

           ‗The Life skills, Health and Family Life Education, Guidance and Citizen
           curriculum is being included in the curricula of grades 1-9 (the primary level and
           the first three years in the secondary level). This curriculum aims to serve two main
           purposes: to encourage students to i) inculcate essential Life-Skills including the
           making of wise choices; and ii) acquire the values that will allow them to live
           peaceably in the pluralist, multicultural Guyanese society. The main themes of this
           curriculum are education, family, health, human rights, and human sexuality that
           will be taught from Grades Seven to Nine. It is also being taught at the Primary
           level. Below is a summary of the curriculum of this new programme.‘ (Guyana)


          Life-Skills perspective as a framework for the re-orientation of secondary education
           (Congo, Cuba, Guatemala)

           ‗Les compétences pour la vie font partie des éléments qui intègrent l‘éducation pour
           tous. Dans cette optique, l‘enseignement secondaire doit être redéfini en vue de la
           réorientation de ses objectifs et de ses fonctions. Dans ce contexte, les programmes
           d‘enseignement secondaire doivent cesser de ne se focaliser que sur la poursuite
           des études au lycée et dans l‘enseignement supérieur mais conduire vers la
           préparation à la vie. De ce point de vue, ces programmes doivent prendre en compte
           les problèmes relatifs à l‘éducation à la vie et en matière de population, la lutte
           contre le VIH/sida en ce qui concerne principalement la prévention, et la
2
    See the complete list for constant cases in Annex III.


                                                                                             10
       préservation de l‘environnement etc. Ces notions devraient être prises en compte de
       manière graduelle en rapport avec chaque classe du secondaire. Pour répondre au
       défi actuel de développer des connaissances pour la vie, les curricula et les
       programmes de l‘enseignement secondaire doivent mettre l‘accent sur le
       développement des compétences pédagogiques de base et de perfectionnement,
       mais aussi des compétences psychosociales ou relationnelles.

       ‗Pour la République Démocratique du Congo, les compétences identifiées et
       privilégiées à faire acquérir ou développer par l‘enfant sont les suivantes :
       1) la capacité de communiquer ;
       2) la confiance en soi ;
       3) l‘esprit critique et la capacité d‘action ;
       4) l‘identification et la résolution des problèmes ;
       5) la clarification de valeurs ;
       6) l‘esprit de créativité et le sens d‘initiative ;
       7) l‘esprit du bien-être en adaptant un style de vie approprié ;
       8) l‘expression et la gestion des émotions ;
       9) la reconnaissance et la gestion des stress ;
       10) les relations interprofessionnelles de qualité ;
       11) le respect de l‘environnement et du bien commun. (Congo)


      Life skills perspective as a framework for the re-orientation of the entire curriculum
       of primary and secondary education (Kenya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Republic of
       Korea, Luxembourg, Switzerland):

       ‗To date, the efforts to develop life-skills have been limited in favor of stringent
       focus on cognitive education. Thus, it is necessary to change the ways of selecting
       and organizing subject contents and instructional methods in order to develop life-
       skills. School curriculums need to include contents, materials, and contexts that
       could help students acquire basic skills, and develop creativity, self-directed learning
       abilities, and leadership.‘ (Republic of Korea)


Finally, the idea of ‗life-long learning‘—a keystone of the learning society—has become a
widespread concept in the last fifteen years. In 2004, 62% of the countries analysed used
the term in their NRs, and this figure rose to 79% among developed countries.


1.4 Foci of the struggle against illiteracy

A comparison of 1990 and 2004 data shows that non-formal education has maintained its
relevance in the battle against illiteracy, with 82% and 62% of countries mentioning it in
1990 and 2004, respectively (see Tables 14 and 15).

      However, the balance between primary and secondary education has changed. In
1990 countries attached as much importance to non-formal education as to primary

                                                                                            11
instruction, leaving secondary studies in a clear third position. In 2004 countries in all
regions continued favouring non-formal education to overcome illiteracy, but they give
equal weight to primary and secondary education. In other words, when they refer to
literacy, countries mention primary and secondary education simultaneously and in similar
proportions.


1.5 Literacy languages

As summarised in Table 16, 78% of the 60 constant cases mentioned that the official
language of the country served as the language of instruction, while 37% reported bilingual
instruction for linguistic minorities.

        Both figures indicate an increase in the number of references to the language of
instruction in the NRs, and the latter probably results from the expansion of the idea that
students will learn more, and faster, if they are taught in their mother tongue.

      A comparison by EFA regions shows that bilingual education has increased in the
CEE, LAC, NAWE and SSA regions.

       In both 1990 and 2004 NRs, bilingual instruction and instruction in a foreign
language are rarely discussed in connection with non-formal education.



2. Eradication of illiteracy in questionnaires presented to the 42nd ICE in 1990

Replies to the questionnaire used for preparing the 42nd Session of the ICE show that
UNESCO‘s definitions of ‗illiteracy‘ and ‗functional illiteracy‘ were widely accepted. A
total of 74 countries (71%) agreed with UNESCO‘s definition of ‗illiterate‘ as ‗a person
who cannot, with understanding, both read and write a short, simple statement on his
everyday life‘. In fact, only a minority of countries did not accept UNESCO‘s definition
and they provided definitions close to UNESCO‘s. The following are examples of such
alternative definitions:

       ‗Literate is the person who has mastered reading, writing and arithmetic enabling
       him to develop his vocation and to upgrade the cultural, social and economic
       standards of his life and to exercise his rights and duties as a citizen.‘ (Iraq)

       ‗The illiterate is a person possessing knowledge of his immediate world and a level
       of education gained from his work, his social confrontations and his experience,
       capable of interpreting multi-dimensional messages in the environment in which he
       lives but with shortcomings in reading and writing.‘ (Nicaragua)

       ‗The illiterate is a person who does not know how to read or write while
       understanding the alphabet (Cyrillic or Latin) and who has no basic knowledge of



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           disciplines such as history, geography and biology at primary grade IV level or has
           not mastered the four basic mathematical operations.‘ (Yugoslavia)


On the other hand, 62 countries (59%) agreed with UNESCO‘s definition of ‗functional
illiterate‘ as ‗a person who cannot engage in all those activities in which literacy is required
for effective functioning of his group and community, and also for enabling him to continue
to use reading, writing and calculation for his own and the community‘s development‘.

               Some alternative definitions were the following:

           ‗The functional illiterate is an adult of over 14 years of age who has learned to read
           and write but who, through a lack of practice, has forgotten what he learned and has
           fallen into illiteracy, and in these circumstances is unable to promote his own and
           his community‘s development and must be viewed as limited in his active
           participation in the socio-political and economic context in which he lives.‘
           (Colombia)

           ‗The functional illiterate is a person who, while having learned some basic skills in
           reading, writing and arithmetic, is unable to use them in his daily life.‘ (Hungary)

           ‗Illettré: young people or adults who have not mastered instrumental skills -
           reading, writing, arithmetic, concepts of space and time, logical thinking - even
           though they may have accomplished some formal education.‘ (France).

            Some countries avoided the ‗literate-illiterate‘ dichotomy and referred instead to
levels of literacy. Mexico distinguished ‗simple literacy, functional literacy and semi-
illiteracy‘ while the Republic of Korea spoke of illiterate, semi-illiterate, literate and
functional literate.

        Most countries (86%) reported the organization of ‗literacy‘, ‗post-literacy‘ or
‗functional literacy‘ courses or programmes for adults, and only six countries stated they
did not have them. It proved to be very difficult to classify activities as ‗campaigns‘,
‗projects‘ or ‗programmes‘ as they varied in form, scope, length, organization and other
characteristics. Duration ranged from 70-100 hours to 1,000 hours, the hours per week from
2 to 10, and the number of participants might be 5 or 403.

       The questionnaire measured the ‗success rate in literacy courses‘ through the
percentage of completers in the illiterate population. According to the replies:

           Some countries performed well in this respect. Angola reported 45.6% of
           completers in post-literacy courses, Guyana 66.2% in post-literacy courses and
           77.6% in functional literacy courses, Nicaragua 66.2% in literacy courses and
           59.6% in post-literacy courses, Turkey 72.7% in literacy courses and 98.3% in post-
           literacy courses.

3
    See Adamets, V.-Kouassigan, I., 1992: 113 to 118.


                                                                                              13
       The majority stated that the courses were very ineffective. Bangladesh reported
       0.4% of completers as a percentage of the illiterate population, Burkina Faso 0.2%,
       Chad 0.4%, Chile 7.9%, Ecuador 6.9%, Jordan 2.4%, Kuwait 0.7%, Mali 1.8%,
       Philippines 3.3%, Peru 10.4%, Zimbabwe 1%.
       Several countries reported modest success rates. Mozambique had 14.3%
       completers in literacy courses and 17% in post-literacy courses, Swaziland 18.3% in
       literacy, post-literacy and functional literacy courses together.

       Relapse into illiteracy arose as a serious problem that had not been sufficiently
studied in 1990. Replies focused on the lack or inadequacy of post-literacy education and
the quality of literacy training as the main causes.

        The main obstacles hindering the participation of adults in literacy programmes
were in order of importance: shortage of teaching materials, quantitative shortfalls and
qualitative shortcomings of teaching staff, lack of time, inadequate curricula, and lack of
motivation. In the particular case of women, the obstacles mentioned in the replies were the
existence of an unfavourable local or family environment, cultural factors, and the burden
of work usual among women.

        Conversely, countries stated that the key conditions for the success of literacy
programmes were: raising the awareness of and motivating the illiterate population; the
existence of political will and coherent policy on the part of the State; the active
involvement of all official and public organizations; planning based on research,
particularly on the real needs of the different cohorts of illiterates; variety in curricula based
on daily life; professionalization of literacy agents in terms of training, motivation and pay;
proper management of literacy activities.

         In relation to educational content, replies showed that ‗classic‘ literacy programmes
entirely based on the three ‗Rs‘ (reading, writing and arithmetic) were not as usual in 1990
as in previous decades, since elements of functional literacy were to be found in practically
all literacy programmes. Seventy-two percent of countries reported that literacy
programmes endeavoured to take into account needs, skills and experiences of adult
illiterates. The topics reported as most common in literacy courses were health and hygiene,
nutrition, population, infant care, the world of work and civic education.

       Some of the methods used to address these needs, skills and experiences were the
creation of specific literacy centres for each cohort, planning at the local level, and the use
of a variety of materials and teaching methods, from individual approaches with
contextualization of learning activities to teacher-student dialogue. In particular, radio
broadcasts were used as a teaching method by 43% of countries, and TV by 31%.

    The question of language was considered to be an important issue in literacy
programmes. On the basis of experience gained in the use of various combinations of the
official language and mother tongue, most countries concluded that literacy in the mother
tongue should be the priority.



                                                                                               14
B. ANALYTICAL CONCLUSION ON CHANGES IN CONCEPTIONS AND
   PRACTICES


1. UNESCO has had a leading role in conceptualising the terms ‗literacy‘ and ‗functional
   literacy‘. As this study shows, by 1990 the definitions UNESCO had provided in 1978
   were widely accepted by the international community:

      ‗A person who is literate can with understanding both read and write a short simple
       statement on his everyday life.‘ (UNESCO, 1978)

      ‗A person who is functionally literate can engage in all those activities in which
       literacy is required for effective functioning of his group and community.‘
       (UNESCO, 1978).

   In that same year, the World Conference on Education For All (WCEFA) held in
   Jomtien stated that ‗basic learning needs or competencies comprise both essential
   learning tools (such as literacy, oral expression, numeracy and problem-solving) and the
   basic learning content required by human beings.‘

   This statement broadened the discussion on literacy by including the notion of ‗basic
   learning needs or competencies‘, which are seen not only in terms of mastery of the
   three Rs but also in terms of other knowledge, problem-solving and life-skills (Wagner,
   2000).


2. The paper provides evidence on different approaches to literacy:

      Few countries consider ‗literacy‘ as limited to the cognitive attainment of basic
       reading and writing skills.

      Most countries subscribe to broad concepts of ‗literacy‘ and ‗functional literacy‘,
       including not only reading and writing but also numeracy and ‗other‘ skills, from
       problem-solving to social.

      The term ‗functional literacy‘ came up far more frequently in educational discourse
       in 1990 than in 2004. As a hypothesis, it could be said that ‗literacy‘ substituted
       ‗functional literacy‘ with the growing awareness that the acquisition of literacy skills
       needs to go beyond the three Rs and be connected with all aspects of life. A key
       lesson in past years regarding adult literacy education is that the closer and more
       relevant a literacy programme is to the circumstances of learners, the more effective
       it will be.

      In 1990 the main difference between ‗literacy‘ and ‗functional literacy‘ was the use
       of ‗functional literacy‘ in association with pedagogical methods for teaching
       illiterates. In 2004, NRs show four approaches to ‗functional literacy‘: part non-


                                                                                            15
       formal education, part vocational education, strategy to overcome poverty or
       strategy for development.

      NRs recognize the existence of multiple kinds of literacy. In fact, the number of
       references to the category ‗other literacies‘ increased in 1990-2004, with a variety of
       expressions, ranging from ‗post-literacy to ‗computer literacy‘. Present emphasis on
       technological literacy is a clear indicator that notions of literacy change with socio-
       economic evolution.


3. There are few explicit references to ‗numeracy‘. Countries use the term in association
   with literacy, but they do not develop conceptualisations of it in the NRs.


4. ‗Life skills‘ is a strong emerging concept in all regions. Between 1990 and 2004, the
   number of references to ‗life skills‘ has increased, and the references themselves have
   become longer and more elaborate. Some countries view ‗life skills‘ as practical and
   labour-oriented skills, others emphasize personal, social and health competencies, and
   even others consider ‗life skills‘ a framework for curriculum re-orientation—either in
   secondary education or secondary and primary education.


5. In 1990 countries assumed that non-formal education and universal primary schooling
   would cause adult illiteracy to fall drastically. Non-formal education was the privileged
   strategy to fight illiteracy, followed by primary education. In 1990-2004, countries have
   partially relinquished this optimistic view and hold that, apart from non-formal
   education, they need to invest in primary and secondary to eradicate illiteracy.

   Complex problems require complex solutions. Therefore, formal schooling and non-
   formal education are viewed as complementary components of literacy policies.
   According to the data presented in this paper, by 2004 countries consider that the
   promotion of literacy require a mixed strategy, combining universal quality primary
   education, high enrolment of adolescents in schools and second-chance education
   programmes for young people and adults.

   Two factors explain this new perspective:

      The growing importance of educational quality, differentiated from access to
       education. Latin America can be taken as a good example of this evolution:
       educational policies were mainly oriented towards enrolment in primary school in
       the 1960s whereas quality became one of the key notions of the 1990s educational
       reforms (Gajardo, 1999; Rivero, 1999).

      The improvement of literacy measurement. Research on reading comprehension and
       writing skills has gained relevance in the last fifteen years. National assessment
       studies and international measurement of learning achievements (PISA, TIMMS,


                                                                                           16
       IEA) have demonstrated that insufficient literacy is a problem, not only in
       developing nations but also in developed ones. In virtually every country, a
       significant proportion of young people and adults lack adequate skills in reading,
       writing and numeracy (Wagner, 2000).


6. The above analysis indicates that the following problems require attention:

      Effectiveness. By 1990, countries had already gained a large experience in the
       organization and implementation of literacy programmes. However, there are few
       studies documenting the effectiveness of literacy acquisition in those programmes.

      Retention of literacy vs. relapsing into illiteracy. This paper presents evidence on
       the risks of relapsing into illiteracy when a ―literacy environment‖ is not created.
       Therefore, literacy policies should focus not only on the individual, but also on
       family and community.




                                                                                        17
REFERENCES

Adamets, V. and Kouassigan, I. (1992). Analysis of replies to the questionnaire on the
theme of the forty-second session of the International Conference on Literacy Education
(1990), IBE Document Series, Number 3. Geneva: IBE.

Gajardo, M. (1999). Reformas educativas en América Latina. Documento Nro. 15.
Santiago de Chile: PREAL.

Rivero, J. (1999). Educación y exclusión en América Latina. Reformas en tiempos de
globalización. Buenos Aires: Miño y Dávila Editores.

Tuijman, A. (1996). International encyclopaedia of adult education and training. United
Kingdom: Elsevier Science Ltd.

UNESCO (2005). Education For All Global Monitoring Report 2006. Special Theme:
Literacy. External Consultation Online (Draft).

UNESCO (2003). Literacy. A UNESCO Perspective. Available online at:
http://www.unesco.org/education/litdecade/

UNESCO-IBE (1991). Replies to the questionnaire on the theme of the forty-second
session of the International Conference on Literacy, IBE Document Series, Number 2. IBE:
Geneva.

Wagner, D (2000). Literacy and Adult Education, Thematic Studies, World Education
Forum. Paris: UNESCO.




                                                                                          18
LIST OF TABLES


Table 1. Distribution of constant cases, 1990 & 2004

Table 2. Percentage of countries mentioning ―literacy‖, ―functional literacy‖ and ―other
literacies‖. All constant cases and by world classification, 1990 & 2004

Table 3. Percentage of countries mentioning ―literacy‖, ―functional literacy‖ and ―other
literacies‖. All constant cases and by income level, 1990 & 2004

Table 4. Percentage of countries mentioning ―literacy‖, ―functional literacy‖ and ―other
literacies‖. All constant cases and by EFA region, 1990 & 2004

Table 5. Countries according to their definitions of ―literacy‖. All constant cases and by
world classification, 1990 & 2004

Table 6. Countries according to their definitions of ―literacy‖. All constant cases and by
income level, 1990 & 2004

Table 7. Countries according to their definitions of ―literacy‖. All constant cases and by
EFA region, 1990 & 2004

Table 8. Countries according to their definitions of ―functional literacy‖.   All constant
cases and by world classification, 1990 & 2004

Table 9. Countries according to their definitions of ―functional literacy‖. All constant
cases and by income level, 1990 & 2004

Table 10. Countries according to their definitions of ―functional literacy‖. All constant
cases and by EFA region, 1990 & 2004

Table 11. Percentage of countries referring to ―numeracy‖, ―life skills‖, ―key
competencies‖ and ―life-long learning‖. All constant cases and by world classification,
1990 & 2004

Table 12. Percentage of countries referring to ―numeracy‖, ―life skills‖, ―key
competencies‖ and ―life-long learning‖. All constant cases and by income level, 1990 &
2004

Table 13. Percentage of countries referring to ―numeracy‖, ―life skills‖, ―key
competencies‖ and ―life-long learning‖. All constant cases and by EFA region, 1990 &
2004

Table 14. Strategies to fight against illiteracy.      All constant cases and by world
classification and income level, 1990 & 2004



                                                                                       19
Table 15. Strategies to fight against illiteracy. All constant cases and by EFA region,
1990 & 2004

Table 16. Percentage of countries mentioning language of instruction. All constant cases
and by EFA region, 1990 & 2004




                                                                                     20
Table 1. Distribution of constant cases, 1990 & 2004

                                                            1990                                2004
                                                    Number of                           Number of
                                                      cases                 %             cases              %
By world classification (1):

Developed                                                14                 23               14               23
Developing                                               45                 75               45               75
Countries in transition                                   1                  2                1                2
Total                                                    60                100               60              100



By income level (2):

High (more than US$ 5,200)                               17                 28               18               30
Medium (US$ 1,500–5,200)                                 15                 25               15               25
Low (less than US$ 1,500)                                28                 47               27               45
Total                                                    60                100               60              100


By EFA region (3):

AS                                                        7                 12                7               12
CEE                                                       4                  7                4                7
EAPA                                                      7                 12                7               12
LAC                                                       9                 15                9               15
NAWE                                                     11                 18               11               18
SSA                                                      17                 28               17               28
SWA                                                       5                  8                5                8
Total                                                    60                100               60              100

(Percentages have been rounded).
Notes:
(1) Country Group (developing, developed, transition): for the 2000s, from classifications noted in the
   UNESCO 2005, EFA Monitoring Report The Quality Imperative (p. 251); for the 1990s, from the
   classifications noted in the UNESCO Statistical Yearbook, 1990 (p. X).
(2) Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita in current US dollars. Years selected: 1990 and 2003. (Source:
   United Nations Statistics Division ).
(3) AS = Arab States; CEE = Central and Eastern Europe; EAPA = East Asia and the Pacific; LAC = Latin
   America and the Caribbean; NAWE = Western Europe and North America; SSA = Sub-Saharan Africa;
   SWA = South and West Asia. No cases for Central Asia (CA) and one case for NAWE (Cyprus). (Source:
   UNESCO 2005, EFA Monitoring report: The Quality Imperative, p. 251).




                                                                                                       21
Table 2. Percentage of countries mentioning “literacy”, “functional literacy” and
“other literacies”. All constant cases and by world classification, 1990 & 20044



                                            Year        All cases         Developed         Developing

Mention of literacy
                                            1990              88               71                98
                                            2004              78               64                84

Mention of functional literacy
                                            1990              48               57                49
                                            2004              27                7                33

Mention of other literacies
                                            1990              38               21                45
                                            2004              42               50                40

Number of cases
                                            1990              60               14                45
                                            2004              60               14                45




4
 The terms ‗literacy‘, ‗functional literacy‘ and ‗other literacies‘ were considered mutually exclusive in the
coding process. If a country mentioned the three terms in its NR, it was counted in each row.



                                                                                                                22
Table 3. Percentage of countries mentioning “literacy”, “functional literacy” and
“other literacies”. All constant cases and by income level, 1990 & 20045



                                            Year        All cases            High            Medium              Low

Mention of literacy
                                            1990             88                77               93               96
                                            2004             78                61               93               82

Mention of functional literacy
                                            1990             48                47               33               61
                                            2004             27                 0               20               48

Mention of other literacies
                                            1990             38                18               40               50
                                            2004             42                56               33               37
Number of cases
                                            1990             60                17               15               28
                                            2004             60                18               15               27




5
 The terms ‗literacy‘, ‗functional literacy‘ and ‗other literacies‘ were considered mutually exclusive in the
coding process. If a country mentioned the three terms in its NR, it was counted in each row.



                                                                                                                23
Table 5. Countries according to their definitions of “literacy”.
All constant cases and by world classification, 1990 & 2004



                                   Year    All cases         Developed   Developing

Literacy as reading and writing

                                   1990          15                21       13
                                   2004           7                 7        7

Literacy as reading, writing and
Numeracy
                                   1990          17                0        22
                                   2004           3                7         2

Literacy as reading, writing,
numeracy and other skills
                                   1990          17                7        20
                                   2004           7                7         7

No definition
                                   1990          52                72       45
                                   2004          83                79       84

Number of cases

                                   1990          60                14       45
                                   2004          60                14       45
Table 6. Countries according to their definitions of “literacy”.
All constant cases and by income level, 1990 & 2004



                                   Year    All cases         High   Medium        Low

Literacy as reading and writing

                                   1990         15            18      13          14
                                   2004          7             6       7           7

Literacy as reading, writing and
Numeracy
                                   1990         17            6       20          22
                                   2004          3            6        0           4

Literacy as reading, writing,
numeracy and other skills
                                   1990         17             6      34          14
                                   2004          7            11       7           4

No definition

                                   1990         52            70      33          50
                                   2004         83            77      86          85

Number of cases

                                   1990         60            17      15          28
                                   2004         60            18      15          27




                                                                             25
Table 8. Countries according to their definitions of “functional literacy”.
All constant cases and by world classification, 1990 & 2004

                                                              Percentage

                                      Year    All cases     Developed         Developing

Functional literacy as reading and writing

                                      1990          0            0                0
                                      2004          0            0                0

Functional literacy as reading, writing and
Numeracy
                                       1990         2            0                2
                                       2004         0            0                0

Functional literacy as reading, writing,
numeracy and other skills
                                       1990        13            7               16
                                       2004         7            0                9

No definition

                                      1990         85            93              82
                                      2004         93           100              91

Number of cases

                                      1990         60           14               45
                                      2004         60           14               45




                                                                                      26
Table 9. Countries according to their definitions of “functional literacy”.
All constant cases and by income level, 1990 & 2004



                                      Year    All cases      High       Medium          Low

Functional literacy as reading and writing

                                      1990         0          0               0          0
                                      2004         0          0               0          0

Functional literacy as reading, writing and
Numeracy
                                       1990        2          0               0          4
                                       2004        0          0               0          0

Functional literacy as reading, writing,
numeracy and other skills
                                       1990        13         12              13        14
                                       2004         7          0               7        11

No definition

                                      1990         85         88              87        82
                                      2004         93        100              93        89

Number of cases

                                      1990         60         17              15        28
                                      2004                    18              15        27




                                                                                   27
Table 11. Percentage of countries referring to “numeracy”, “life skills”, “key
competencies” and “life-long learning”. All constant cases and by world
classification, 1990 & 2004



                                  Year     All cases        Developed       Developing

Reference to numeracy
                                  1990          20              7                24
                                  2004          23             21                24

Reference to life skills
                                  1990          32             36                31
                                  2004          83             93                82

Reference to key competencies
                                  1990          17             29                13
                                  2004          35             65                27

Reference to life-long learning
                                  1990          53             71                49
                                  2004          62             79                56

Number of cases
                                  1990          60             14                45
                                  2004          60             14                45




                                                                                      28
Table 12. Percentage of countries referring to “numeracy”, “life skills”, “key
competencies” and “life-long learning”. All constant cases and by income level,
1990 & 2004



                                  Year    All cases        High       Medium           Low

Reference to numeracy
                                  1990         20            6           13            32
                                  2004         23           17            7            37

Reference to life skills
                                  1990         32           41           20            32
                                  2004         83           94           87            74

Reference to key competencies
                                  1990         17           35            0            14
                                  2004         35           56           40            19

Reference to life-long learning
                                  1990         53           65           53            46
                                  2004         62           78           73            41

Number of cases
                                  1990         60           17           15            28
                                  2004         60           18           15            27




                                                                                  29
Table 14. Strategies to fight against illiteracy. All constant cases and by world
classification and income level, 1990 & 2004

                                      Primary/Basic   Secondary    Non-formal
                             Year       education     education     education
All constant cases (60)
                             1990          72            17            82
                             2004          25            23            62

        Developed            1990          29            21            57
                             2004          29            21            43

       Developing            1990          87            16            91
                             2004          24            24            69

           High              1990          41            24            71
                             2004          22            17            50

         Medium              1990          80            20            87
                             2004          20            20            70

           Low               1990          86            11            86
                             2004          30            30            60




                                                                                    30
Table 15. Strategies to fight against illiteracy. All constant cases and by EFA
region, 1990 & 2004

                                     Primary/Basic   Secondary     Non-formal
                             Year      education     education      education
All constant cases (60)
                             1990         72             17            82
                             2004         25             23            62

                            Trend

            AS               1990         100            29            100
            (7)              2004          0              0             86

           CEE               1990         25              0            25
            (4)              2004          0              0            25

           EAPA              1990         71             29            86
            (7)              2004         29             29            43

           LAC               1990         89             22            100
            (9)              2004         56             56             89

          NAWE               1990         27             18            64
           (11)              2004         27             18            36

            SSA              1990         82             12            82
            (17)             2004         24             24            71

           SWA               1990         100             0            100
            (5)              2004          20            20             60




                                                                                  31
32
Table 4. Percentage of countries mentioning “literacy”, “functional literacy” and “other literacies”. All constant cases and by
EFA region, 1990 & 20046

                                                                                                   EFA region
                                         Year       All cases         AS           CEE           EAPA      LAC                NAWE            SSA           SWA

Mention of literacy
                                         1990           88           100             50             86           100             73            100           100
                                         2004           78            71             75             86            89             55             82           100

Mention of functional literacy
                                         1990           48            29             25             29            56             55            65            100
                                         2004           27            14             25             14            33             0             53             20

Mention of other literacies
                                          1990          38            29              0             57            56             18            47             40
                                         2004           42            43             50             43            11             45            47             60
Number of cases
                                        1990            60             7              4             7              9             11            17                 5
                                        2004            60             7              4             7              9             11            17                 5




6
  The terms ‗literacy‘, ‗functional literacy‘ and ‗other literacies‘ were considered mutually exclusive in the coding process. If a country mentioned the three
terms in its NR, it was counted in each row.
Table 7 Countries according to their definitions of “literacy”. All constant cases and by EFA region, 1990 & 2004

                                                                            EFA region
                                   Year    All cases   AS      CEE        EAPA      LAC         NAWE        SSA     SWA

Literacy as reading and writing

                                    1990      15       0         0          29         22         18         17      0
                                    2004       7       0         0           0         22         9          6       0

Literacy as reading, writing and
Numeracy
                                    1990      17       14        0          29         11         0          24     40
                                    2004       3       14        0          14         0          0          0      0

Literacy as reading, writing,
numeracy and other skills
                                    1990      17       14        0          29         33         9          12     20
                                   2004        7        0        0           0         11         18         6      0

No definition

                                   1990       52       72       100         13         34         73         47      40
                                   2004       83       86       100         86         67         73         88     100

Number of cases

                                   1990       60       7         4          7          9          11         17      5
                                   2004       60       7         4          7          9          11         17      5




                                                                                                                         34
Table 10. Countries according to their definitions of “functional literacy”. All constant cases and by EFA region, 1990 &
2004

                                                                            EFA region
                                   Year       All cases   AS    CEE       EAPA      LAC         NAWE        SSA        SWA

Functional literacy as reading and writing

                                    1990         0         0     0          0          0           0          0             0
                                    2004         0         0     0          0          0           0          0             0

Functional literacy as reading, writing and
Numeracy
                                     1990        2         0     0          0          0           0          6             0
                                     2004        0         0     0          0          0           0          0             0

Functional literacy as reading, writing,
numeracy and other skills
                                     1990        13       29     0          14         22          9         12         0
                                    2004          7        0     0          14         0           0         12         20

No definition

                                  1990           85        71   100         86         78          91        82         100
                                  2004           93       100   100         86        100         100        88          80

Number of cases

                                  1990           60        7     4          7          9          11         17             5
                                  2004           60        7     4          7          9          11         17             5




                                                                                                                                35
Table 13. Percentage of countries referring to “numeracy”, “life skills”, “key competencies” and “life-long learning”.
All constant cases and by EFA region, 1990 & 2004

                                                                             EFA region
                                   Year   All cases   AS         CEE       EAPA       LAC         NAWE        SSA        SWA

Reference to numeracy
                                   1990      20        0          0          29         0           0          53        20
                                   2004      23       14          0          14         11          18         47        20

Reference to life skills
                                   1990      32       29           0         86         11          27         29         40
                                   2004      83       57          75         86         89          91         82        100

Reference to key competencies
                                   1990      17       14           0         26         11          36          6        20
                                  2004       35       43          25         14         67          73          6        20

Reference to life-long learning
                                  1990       53       71          25          43        44          73         41        80
                                  2004       62       57          75         100        56          73         41        40

Number of cases
                                  1990       60        7          4           7          9          11         17         5
                                  2004       60        7          4           7          9          11         17         5




                                                                                                                              36
Table 16. Percentage of countries mentioning language of instruction. All constant cases and by EFA region, 1990 & 2004

                                                                           EFA region
                                   Year   All cases   AS      CEE        EAPA      LAC        NAWE         SSA       SWA

Mother tongue instruction for
Ethnic / linguistic minorities     1990      23        0        25         29         22         36         35            40
mentioned                          2004      37        0        50         14         56         54         41            20

Instruction in official language
mentioned                          1990      45       100       50         71         78         82         47            60
                                   2004      78        86      100        100         67         91         71            40

Number of cases
                                   1990      60        7        4          7          9          11         17            5
                                   2004      60        7        4          7          9          11         17            5




                                                                                                                               37
LIST OF ANNEXES


ANNEX I.     List of countries included in the data set of constant cases 1990-2004.


ANNEX II.    References to ―other literacies‖ in 2004 National Reports.


ANNEX III. Statements on Life-Skills in 2004 National Reports.


ANNEX IV. Coding scheme for Study on National Conceptualisations of Literacy,
          Numeracy and Life Skills. Constant cases 1990-2004.
ANNEX I. List of countries included in the data set of constant cases 1990-2004

    Afghanistan
    Angola
    Argentina                      Korea, Rep. of
    Australia                      Lesotho
    Austria                        Luxembourg
    Bahrain                        Malawi
    Benin                          Malaysia
    Brazil                         Mauritius
    Bulgaria                       Morocco
    Cameroon                       Nicaragua
    Central African Rep.           Niger
    China                          Nigeria
    Colombia                       Norway
    Congo                          Pakistan
    Cuba                           Peru
    Denmark                        Portugal
    Finland                        Qatar
    France                         Romania
    Ghana                          Saudi Arabia
    Greece                         Senegal
    Guatemala                      Sri Lanka
    Guinea                         Switzerland
    Guyana                         Syrian Arab Rep.
    India                          Tanzania, United Rep. Of
    Iran, Islamic Rep. of          Thailand
    Iraq                           Turkey
    Israel                         Uganda
    Japan                          Ukraine
    Jordan                         United States of America
    Kenya                          Venezuela
    Korea, D.P.R.                  Zimbabwe




                                                                                  39
ANNEX II. References to “other literacies” in 2004 National Reports

   Computer literacy as part of teacher training
    ―The Education Developmental Vision in the Kingdom of Bahrain approved by the
    Cabinet on 13th April 2003 has focused on the teacher education and training, the
    foremost achievements in this regard are as follow: (…) Upgrading the teachers‘
    proficiency in English language, computer literacy and technology application in
    teaching according to a long term and advance level programmes.‖ (Bahrain)

    ―With this project it is aimed to enable 50.000 teachers to gain computer literacy in
    three years time through expert teacher trainers who will be trained with a special
    education.‖ (Turkey)

     ―Information Communication Technology (ICT). The use of leading age technology is
    emphasized in the teaching and learning processes. Teacher education curriculum
    includes ICT literacy for trainees in all disciplines. Courses on integration of ICT in
    teaching and learning for in- service teachers are also conducted.‖ (Malaysia)

   Computer literacy mentioned as aims of Secondary and Higher Education
    ―Secondary and Higher Education. (…) Improvements in the quality of education,
    particularly in science, mathematics and computer literacy, are emphasized with
    financial support from the Government.‖ (India)

    ―The Cultural-Educational Field Way of Living and Technologies. The purpose of the
    educational subject ―Way of living and technologies‖ is the gradual building of
    technological literacy and competence of the students as a substantial element of their
    general education and general knowledge. The curriculum for ―Way of Living and
    technologies‖ includes issues and practical activities connected with the home life and
    technique, by which the students shape a positive attitude towards the labour and
    preservation of the environment. Essential for the curricula is the understanding for the
    practical activities, that they are instrumental for the development of the civil and
    personal characteristics of students.‖ (Bulgaria)

   Information literacy mentioned in Higher Education context only
    ―Correspondence of Higher Education to the Computerized Society. For further
    utilization of IT in higher education, the Government partially revised the Standards for
    the Establishment of Universities in March 2001 and make institutional amendments to
    qualify classes using the Internet as formal classes. The Government also promotes
    exchanges of studies on education through joint classes and workshops between
    universities that are located far away from one another, by connecting such universities
    by satellite communication. The Government will work toward improving the
    foundations of IT environment and increasing students‘ information literacy, and will
    also establish specialty courses and information-related courses with the aim of



                                                                                          40
    fostering specialists who will play an important role in developing the advanced
    information telecommunication network-based society of the future.‖ (Japan)

   Technological literacy in adult education
    ―New Offers of Adult Education and Training (…). The action strategies that are briefly
    summarised below are currently being pursued in order to make these objectives a
    reality. They are centred on the two ministries‘ training structures, working in
    articulation or on their individual initiative, and constitute vectors for development in
    the adult education and training fields: (…) privileging training approaches that focus
    on promoting basic competencies in the various fields of technological literacy; in this
    respect the leading target is to ensure that at least 50% of continuous training actions
    include contents from the information and communication technology domains.‖
    (Portugal)

     ―Community Learning Centres (CLCs) are being set up in government schools and
    community sites for serving the broader community and lifelong learners through
    NGOs, government and corporate sector initiatives promoting IT literacy and other
    capacity building activities.‖ (Pakistan)

   Computer literacy mentioned in the context of practical skills development
    ―Flexible Learning opportunities and life skills development. The current Practical
    Technical Skills subject area in grades 6 to 9 will be re structured and renamed as
    Technical Skills which cover the areas namely Graphic Arts, Computer Literacy (IT),
    Elementary Technology, Agriculture and Food Preparation.‖ (Sri Lanka)

   Fighting digital illiteracy explicitly considered part of social/cultural inclusion

    ―It is important to ensure that all pupils master an essential set of forms of knowledge
    and techniques, so that, using this threshold as a starting point, they can develop the
    associated competencies. However, the transversality of this training increases the
    potential for unequal access and educational development by benefiting those who
    enjoy a family environment with a greater cultural capital, but relegating the socially
    and culturally disadvantaged to digital illiteracy. This is why teaching people to use
    information and communication technologies is not only an educational imperative, but
    also a social and cultural one.‖ (Portugal)

    ―Technological innovation and means of communication at the service of education.
    Computers for schools: 8500 computers and 3100 printers which will be assigned to
    schools in a state of extreme poverty, teachers‘ training institutes and technical schools
    throughout the country. Educ.ar: relaunching of educ.ar for digital literacy education,
    promoting the integration of Technologies of Information and Communication into the
    educational system and thus narrowing the digital gap.‖ (Argentina)




                                                                                           41
ANNEX III. Statements on Life-Skills in 2004 National Reports


1. Life-Skills education considered as teaching of practical, technical skills or labour-
   oriented skills (Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Guyana)

   ―Primary school curriculum is renewed to include Life-Skills and gainful skills so that
   students who for some reason cannot go beyond grade 9, can join the world of work.‖
   (Afghanistan)

   ―The junior secondary stage curriculum has introduced life competencies as a subject
   and practical work and work on small project as an important element. Activity rooms
   were proposed to be established in schools to enable students to learn by doing things
   by themselves, using simple tools and learning simple techniques. In the curriculum for
   secondary senior stage of GCE O/L, technical subject is included as a core subject to
   help students continue learning of Life-Skills. Practical work has been made
   compulsory in the GCE A/L curriculum. It was proposed by the 1998 reform that links
   be developed between the school system and the vocational and technical training
   system to provide flexible learning opportunities to students. Career guidance and
   counseling has been introduced at this stage in order to provide advice to students to
   enable them to select avenues most suited to their capabilities. Community Learning
   Centers have been established under Non-formal sector to provide flexible learning
   opportunities and Life-Skills development to children not being able to attend school.‖
   (Sri Lanka)

   ―The new curriculum has reduced the overall number of subjects in primary education
   from ii to 8. In addition, there has been an introduction of life skills at this level which
   aims to introducing and creating interest on practical skills. The review of the
   curriculum went parallel with the development of new instructional materials. Text
   books and teachers guides were provided to schools in 4 subjects per grade for standard
   one to standard three at an average of 2 pupils per title and in 8 subjects per grade for
   standard 4 at standard 7 at a ratio of 1:1‖ (Tanzania)

   ―Guyana is about to restructure and re-orientate secondary education. Nucleus of the
   new strategy is the ―Basic Competency Certificate Programme‖ which will allow many
   secondary school-students to acquire vocational or technical skills considered to be
   relevant in respect of labour-market needs.‖ (Guyana)


2. Life Skills education considered as teaching of personal, social and health
   competencies in Primary and Secondary school ( Bahrain , Guyana, Nicaragua,
   Turkey)

   ―The life skills curriculum is a developmental vision to form the curriculum from the
   perspective of ―Learning for Life‖ in order to achieve the education goals, specially that
   related to the individual‘s health, safety, existence and his/her relation with his
   environment and society.‖ (Bahrain)


                                                                                            42
―The Life skills, Health and Family Life Education, Guidance and Citizen curriculum is
being included in the curricula of grades 1-9 (the primary level and the first three years
in the secondary level). .. This curriculum aims to serve two main purposes: to
encourage students to i) inculcate essential Life-Skills including the making of wise
choices; and ii) acquire the values that will allow them to live peaceable in the pluralist,
multicultural Guyanese society. The main themes of this curriculum are education,
family, health, human rights, and human sexuality that will be taught from Grades
Seven to Nine. It is also being taught at the Primary level. Below is a summary of the
curriculum of this new programme.‖

―The introduction of the Life Skills, Health and Family Life and Citizen Education (See
Section 2.3 for more details) into the Primary and Lower Secondary curricula, has posed
challenges for curriculum development and teacher training. This is as a result of the
traditional emphasis on rote learning of a body of knowledge. This new curriculum
demands a change in teaching strategy from knowledge-based to skill-based. Herein lies
the difficulty. The teaching of skills, such as, decision-making does not utilize as much
knowledge as know-how.‖ (Guayana)

―El Programa Educación para La Vida en Nicaragua, define entre sus objetivos
mejorar la calidad de vida de los niños, niñas y jóvenes a través del desarrollo personal y
habilidades sociales que potencian la convivencia en la escuela, los hogares y el barrio.
De esa manera se refuerza la educación del carácter y valores, mismos que son
fundamentales para el reconocimiento del derecho ajeno y respeto a límites en nuestras
conductas ciudadanas. ‖ (Nicaragua)

―In MLO (Curriculum Laboratory Schools, designated in different types in 23
provinces) a successful student has been defined as a student who has scientific thinking
skills, is interested in searching and questioning, is capable of accessing to information,
utilizing and sharing this information, has communication skills, is capable of using
technology effectively, has adopted the universal values, is creative, productive and
tended to team work and has learned how to learn and adapted lifelong learning. In this
new point of view, it is accepted that education is the life itself, not the one that prepares
the individual for life so education process focuses on the development of life skills. In
this model, it is aimed to ensure the individual‘s active participation in every dimension
of the process by taking in to consideration individual differences. .. Skills like effective
communication, self-evaluation, self-confidence, sensibility, honesty, respect, avoiding
prejudices within the life skills set in the Student-Based education application Model
are playing an important role for establishing tolerance and cultural dialogue. ― (Turkey)




                                                                                           43
3. Life-Skills perspective as a framework for the re-orientation of secondary
   education (Congo, Cuba, Guatemala)

  ―Les compétences pour la vie font partie des éléments qui intègrent l‘éducation pour
  tous. Dans cette optique, l‘enseignement secondaire doit être redéfini en vue de la
  réorientation de ses objectifs et de ses fonctions. Dans ce contexte, les programmes
  d‘enseignement secondaire doivent cesser de ne se focaliser que sur la poursuite des
  études au lycée et dans l‘enseignement supérieur mais conduire vers la préparation à la
  vie. De ce point de vue, ces programmes doivent prendre en compte les problèmes
  relatifs à l‘éducation à la vie et en matière de population, la lutte contre le VIH/sida en
  ce qui concerne principalement la prévention, et la préservation de l‘environnement etc.
  Ces notions devraient être prises en compte de manière graduelle en rapport avec
  chaque classe du secondaire. Pour répondre au défi actuel de développer des
  connaissances pour la vie, les curricula et les programmes de l‘enseignement secondaire
  doivent mettre l‘accent sur le développement des compétences pédagogiques de base et
  de perfectionnement, mais aussi des compétences psychosociales ou relationnelles.

  ―Pour la République Démocratique du Congo, les compétences identifiées et
  privilégiées à faire acquérir ou développer par l‘enfant sont les suivantes :
  12) la capacité de communiquer ;
  13) la confiance en soi ;
  14) l‘esprit critique et la capacité d‘action ;
  15) l‘identification et la résolution des problèmes ;
  16) la clarification de valeurs ;
  17) l‘esprit de créativité et le sens d‘initiative ;
  18) l‘esprit du bien-être en adaptant un style de vie approprié ;
  19) l‘expression et la gestion des émotions ;
  20) la reconnaissance et la gestion des stress ;
  21) les relations interprofessionnelles de qualité ;
  22) le respect de l‘environnement et du bien commun. (Congo)

  ―El sistema educacional cubano proporciona a sus educandos competencias que le
  permitan ante todo ser ciudadano de un mundo que demanda solidaridad, humanismo,
  paz y fraternidad entre todos los hombres. Las competencias a formar en los estudiantes
  en la escuela cubana, están definidas a partir del tipo de ciudadano queremos formar‖.

  ―El currículo, visto en su carácter procesal y desde la composición de actividades en las
  cuales se desarrollan las interrelaciones entre los diferentes sujetos, posee una estructura
  en componentes cada uno de los cuales se relaciona de diferente forma con el contenido
  de la educación y brindan diferentes oportunidades de aprendizajes a los alumnos, el
  intercambio de experiencias y desarrollo de sus actitudes, comportamientos y
  potencialidades... El currículo en su flexibilidad, ajustado a las condiciones sociales,
  con mecanismos de autorregulación como proceso y con la participación de los
  diferentes agentes educativos, como requiere la sociedad que construimos, debe
  proporcionar la preparación para la vida de los adolescentes.‖ (Cuba)


                                                                                           44
   ―La educación media en Guatemala necesita cambios de fondo... Es necesario repensar
   la educación media, para que desde el ciclo básico desarrolle en la juventud
   competencias para la ciudadanía democrática y para la productividad. En este ciclo se
   deben brindar oportunidades para que la juventud desarrolle sus potencialidades y
   precise sus propios proyectos de vida.‖ (Guatemala)


4. Life skills perspective as a framework for the re-orientation of the entire
   curriculum of primary and secondary education (Kenya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia,
   Republic of Korea, Luxembourg, Switzerland)

   ―Therefore the need for life skills, which the Kenyan child needs to acquire, must be
   seen against this background. Indeed, one of the goals of both primary and secondary
   education in Kenya as stated in various policy documents is that of preparing the
   learners to fit into and contribute towards the well being of society, and to fit in the
   world of work. These two goals address the competencies for life, which the learner
   should acquire. The life competencies can be categorized into two broad areas. The
   learner should get adequate knowledge and skills to be able to earn a living. The other
   focuses on the learner being able to fit into a ‗social‘ world. This is the real world of
   knowing how to live with others and dealing with daily challenges in society. It
   addresses the issue of acquisition of human skills. The issues of knowing how to cope
   and deal with modern and emerging challenges. It should be noted that the importance
   of imparting life skills to learners is well articulated in the EFA goals. ... Therefore, the
   real challenge that we face in equipping the youth with life skills and in providing
   flexible learning opportunities is in developing a curriculum at secondary school level
   which is academic as well as skills oriented so that the school leaver is ready for life
   with or without further education and training while ensuring that global standards are
   maintained.‖ (Kenya)

   ―Three issues are central to the attainment of competencies for life via education. These
   are: relevant School Curriculum, adequacy of teachers with relevant skills and provision
   of relevant infrastructure and instructional materials... The government in ensuring that
   education provides desired competences for life, is embarking on the following:
   refocusing the 6-3-3-4 system of education on skill acquisition.‖ (Nigeria)

   ―Most educational systems emphasize in their educational policies the importance of
   raising students and preparing them in their future life to face the ever-changing and
   complex problems which result from the information explosion and the world-wide
   information revolution by the ever-increasing fast communication systems. In the
   context of this vision, the Ministry has carried out the following programs:

   1) The project of developing social skills and values for students of the elementary
      stage.
   2) Preparation of a list of qualifications for students in the stage of basic education,
      including three fields, each of which includes a group of skills: the field of
      communication and understanding, the field of planning and organization, the social
      field.‖ (Saudi Arabia)


                                                                                             45
―To date, the efforts to develop life-skills have been limited in favor of stringent focus
on cognitive education. Thus, it is necessary to change the ways of selecting and
organizing subject contents and instructional methods in order to develop life-skills.
School curriculums need to include contents, materials, and contexts that could help
students acquire basic skills, and develop creativity, self-directed learning abilities, and
leadership. ― (Republic of Korea)

―Les pays membres de l‘Union européenne ont adopté un programme de travail afin
d‘atteindre, dans le domaine de l‘éducation et de la formation, des objectifs précis jusqu‘en
2010. Ce programme de travail définit les compétences pour la vie, dont toute personne
devrait être équipée à l‘avenir et qui devraient être maintenues et actualisées tout au long de
la vie. Ces compétences portent sur huit domaines :

1)   communication dans le langue maternelle;
2)   communication dans une langue étrangère;
3)   connaissance des mathématiques et compétences de base en sciences et technologie;
4)   aptitudes en TIC;
5)   apprendre à apprendre;
6)   compétences interpersonnelles et civiques;
7)   esprit d‘entreprise;
8)   sensibilisation culturelle.

Aux différents niveaux de l‘enseignement luxembourgeois, les curricula sont axés en large
partie sur ces compétences, même si dans certains domaines, et plus particulièrement dans
celui des langues étrangères, ils vont plus loin, à cause notamment de la situation
géographique spécifique du Luxembourg.‖ (Luxembourg)

―En Suisse comme partout ailleurs en Europe, les réflexions sur les objectifs et les
fonctions de l‘éducation ainsi que sur la conception et la rénovation du système battent
leur plein. Une étude prospective vient d‘être publiée et va servir d‘opportunité pour
lancer le débat en lien également avec les travaux conduits à l‘échelle nationale dans le
cadre du projet de l‘OCDE Schooling for tomorrow. Dans ce contexte, il est donc
intéressant de présenter des exemples de mise en oeuvre récente : la Déclaration de la
CIIP et le Plan d‘étude cadre pour les écoles de maturité...

Cette Déclaration ( de la CIIP) prévoit pour l‘Ecole publique une triple mission :
transmission culturelle, transmission de valeurs sociales et développement de capacités
générales...

L‘Ecole publique assume des missions d‘instruction et de transmission culturelle auprès
de tous les élèves. Elle assure la construction de connaissances et l‘acquisition de
compétences permettant à chacun et chacune de développer ses potentialités de manière
optimale.




                                                                                            46
L‘Ecole publique assure l‘acquisition et le développement de compétences et de
capacités générales. En particulier, elle entraîne les élèves à :

1) la réflexion, qui vise à développer chez l‘élève sa capacité à analyser, à gérer et à
   améliorer ses démarches d‘apprentissage ainsi qu‘à formuler des projets personnels
   de formation;
2) la collaboration, axée sur le développement de l‘esprit coopératif et sur la
   construction des compétences requises pour réaliser des travaux en équipe et mener
   des projets collectifs ;
3) la communication, qui suppose la capacité de réunir des informations et de
   mobiliser des ressources permettant de s‘exprimer à l‘aide de divers types de
   langages en tenant compte du contexte ;
4) la démarche critique, qui permet de prendre du recul sur les faits et les informations
   tout autant que sur ses propres actions ;
5) la pensée créatrice, axée sur le développement de l‘inventivité, de la fantaisie de
   l‘imagination et de la flexibilité dans la manière d‘aborder toute situation... .‖
   (Switzerland)




                                                                                      47
ANNEX IV. Coding scheme for Study on National Conceptualisations of Literacy,
Numeracy and Life Skills. Constant cases 1990-2004

1. Mention of literacy
      0      No
      1      Yes

2. Mention of functional literacy
       0       No
       1       Yes

3. Reference to other types of literacies
       0       No
       1       Yes


5. Definitions of Literacy

       0       No Definition
       1       Defined as reading and writing
       4       Defined as reading, writing and numeracy
       8       Defined as reading, writing, numeracy and other skills (List)


6. Definitions of Functional Literacy

       0       No Definition
       1       Defined as reading and writing
       4       Defined as reading, writing and numeracy
       8       Defined as reading, writing, numeracy and other skills (List)


7. Languages in Literacy Learning

       0       No information
       1       Mother tongue/Bilingual approaches
       2       Official language/s


8. Focus of the fight against illiteracy: Primary/Basic education
       0       No
       1       Yes




                                                                               48
9. Focus of the fight against illiteracy: Secondaryeducation
       0       No
       1       Yes


10. Focus of the fight against illiteracy: Non-formal education I
       0       No
       1       Yes


11. Focus of the fight against illiteracy: Non-formal education II
       0       No
       1       Yes


12. Mention of numeracy
      0       No
      1       Yes


13. Reference to Life Skills / Competencies for Life in conjunction with educational content
       0       No
       1       Yes


14. Reference to Key / Basic/ Fundamental / Core Competencies
       0       No
       1       Yes


15. Reference to Life longing learning

       0       No
       1       Yes




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