Lifelong Education and UNESCO

In the framework of lifelong learning, ‘literacy is part of the right to education and a public good. It is at the core of basic education and an indispensable foundation of independent learning. The benefits of literacy, in particular for women, are well documented. They include greater participation in the labour market, delayed marriage, and improved child and family health and nutrition; these, in turn, help reduce poverty and expand life opportunities. Numeracy is a key skill: manipulating numbers, accounts, measurements, ratios and quantities is a basic skill to life and required everywhere.’ (Incheon Declaration).

However, there are still about 758 million adults, including 115 million people between the ages of 15 and 24, who are not able to read or write a single sentence. Most countries did not meet the Education for All goal of achieving a 50% improvement in adult literacy levels by 2015.

Women's education

‘Inequity in the way women’s education and qualifications are supported and valued remains a dominant issue. The majority of those excluded from school are girls, with 9.7% of the world’s girls out of school, compared to 8.3% of boys. Likewise, the majority (63%) of adults with low literacy skills are women. Nevertheless, there are some hopeful signs: in 44% of participating countries, women participated more in ALE than men.’ (GRALE III).

 Download the Report:

GRALE III: English | French | Portuguese

GRALE III - key messages and summary: English | French | Spanish | Portuguese

Action in Brazil

Through the development of research and studies, UNESCO offers subsidies for the elaboration of public policies, collaborating with the advancement of indicators related to lifelong education quality, learning and literacy in formal, non-formal and informal environments, as well as contributing to the promotion of lifelong learning.

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