UNESCO’s mission includes advocacy; standard-setting and benchmarking; acting as a clearinghouse; the dissemination of effective practices; policy and programme advice; support; capacity-building; research; literacy assessment; monitoring and evaluation; and partnership building.
A renewed vision of literacy
UNESCO does not advocate a single "model" of literacy. The understanding of who is literate and who is illiterate has evolved considerably over the years, giving rise to new implications for both policies and programmes. The uses of literacy are changing rapidly in contemporary societies in response to broad social, economic and technological changes.
UNESCO’s concept of literacy has moved beyond the simple notion of a set of technical skills for reading, writing and counting to one that encompasses multiple dimensions of these abilities. In acknowledging recent economic, political, and social transformations – including globalization and the progress of information and communication technologies (ICTs) – UNESCO recognizes that there are many practices of literacy embedded in different cultural processes, personal circumstances and collective structures.
This wide concept of literacy entails the notion of literacy across the lifespan: an evolving process concerning individuals of all age groups and at all levels of learning acquired through various modes of literacy provision.
UNESCO’s activities are implemented by various sections in UNESCO’s Headquarters in Paris, the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL), the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and a wide network of UNESCO Regional Bureaux and Cluster and Field Offices.
UNESCO also works with a wide range of partners, including relevant agencies of the UN family, universities and research institutions, and civil society.