Literacy
for life
UNGEI Technical Meeting
Beijing, 26 November 2005
1
Women and literacy
 Literacy is a right
 Self-esteem and empowerment: widening
choices, access to other rights
 Political benefits: increased civic participation in
community activities, trade unions and local politics
 Social benefits: better knowledge of healthcare, family planning
and HIV/AIDS prevention
 Educational benefits: higher chance of educating children,
especially girls
 Economic benefits: Returns on investment in adult literacy
programmes are comparable to those in primary level education
Literacy is a right still denied to some 771 million adults
64% of them are women
2
Literacy: big trends
Patterns of literacy from 1970 to 2000 show an increase in adult literacy rates.
Among the 15-24 age group, these rates are consistently higher
3
Women and literacy: a long-term perspective
Gender disparities have decreased but too many
women are still denied their right to literacy
1.00
0.90
0.90
0.98
Latin America/Caribbean
0.92
East Asia/Pacific
0.88
World
Adult literacy GPI
0.80
0.78
0.70
0.76
Sub-Saharan Africa
0.69
Arab States
0.66
0.60
South/West Asia
0.62
0.50
0.49
0.40
0.40
0.34
0.30
1970
1980
1990
2000-2004
Literate women per 100 literate men:
88 in the world, 66 in South and West Asia,
69 in the Arab States and 76 in sub-Saharan Africa
4
Literacy: countries in the spotlight
Change from
1990 to
2000-2004
(millions)
Three-quarters of the world’s illiterate adults
live in 12 countries
India
34.6%
China
11.3%
Bangladesh
10.6
6.2%
Nigeria
2.9%
Ethiopia
2.8%
Indonesia
2.4%
Egypt
2.2%
Brazil
-94.3
6.8%
Pakistan
6.2
-1.5
-3.0
-5.4
-0.2
1.9%
Male
Iran, Isl. Rep. of
1.4%
Female
Morocco
1.3%
D. R. Congo
1.2%
-5.3
-2.5
-1.0
1.0
-1.3
5
Measuring literacy: towards greater accuracy
Conventional measures
 Based on national censuses
Rely on:
 self declaration
 report by household head
 years of schooling
 Define a person as literate/illiterate
Improved measures
 Based on direct testing
 Literacy skills in several domains
are tested on scales
 Provide more accurate knowledge
about literacy
The gap between indirect and direct assessment is highest
among least educated and where school quality is weakest
Among Ethiopian women with one year of schooling, 59% were
considered literate by household assessments, yet only 27%
passed a simple reading test
6
Girls’ schooling key to women’s literacy
Countries with high gender disparities in literacy are often those
where girls’ access to education is limited
1.05
GPI in adult literacy rate
1.00
0.95
0.90
0.85
0.80
0.75
0.70
0.65
0.60
0.20
R2 = 0.6345
0.40
0.60
0.80
1.00
1.20
GPI in primary education
7
0.50
Nepal
India
Iran, Isl.
Bangladesh
Yemen
Djibouti
Morocco
Iraq
Sudan
Egypt
Syrian A. R.
Algeria
Mauritania
Tunisia
Lebanon
U. A.
Oman
Saudi
0.60
Chad
Ethiopia
Guinea
Benin
Niger
Burkina
Mali
Mozambiqu
Côte d'Ivoire
Togo
Nigeria
Burundi
Cameroon
Eritrea
Comoros
Gambia
Senegal
Ghana
Uganda
Equat.
Zambia
Swaziland
Malawi
Congo
Cape Verde
Madagascar
South Africa
Kenya
Lesotho
Progress in gender parity
Some countries, particularly those with the highest gender
disparities in primary education, have significantly
improved girls’ access to school
1.10
1.00
0.90
Gender
parity
0.80
0.70
GER GPI 1998
GER GPI 2001
8
Girls’ participation in school is
increasing, but not fast enough
 Discrimination against girls at every level of schooling is still pervasive in
many developing countries
Gender Parity Index (F/M), 2002
primary
secondary
1.2
1.0
0.8
Gender
parity
0.6
0.4
0.2
South
West
Asia
Sub
Saharan
Africa
Arab
States
Centr.
Latin
Central
East.
America
Asia
Europe Caribbean
East
Asia
Pacific
N.
America/
W. Europe
9
Gender parity: the prospects at both levels
 The 2005 gender parity goal has been missed by 94 countries
 Disparities at primary level in over 60 countries are nearly always at
the expense of girls.
 At secondary level, boys are under represented in 56 countries
Achieved in 2002
49
6
8
Likely to be
achieved in 2005
Likely to be
achieved in 2015
86
At risk of not
achieving by 2015
Overall
100
54
6
10
9
9
31
Primary
education
79
Secondary
education
10
Literacy: a three-pronged approach
1. Universal quality
basic education
for girls and boys
2. Scale up youth
and adult literacy
programmes
3. Develop rich
literate
environments
Reducing fees
National coordination
School textbooks
Teachers
Partnerships
Local language
newspapers
Gender
Literacy educators
Inclusion and
language
Good curricula
Health and nutrition
Public spending
Language policy
Public spending
Book publishing
Public broadcasting
Libraries
Access to information
Strong political commitment is the starting point
11
Getting girls to school: the need for an integrated strategy
Inside the classroom
Outside the classroom
Component 1: Ensure a girl-friendly environment at all levels of society
Reduce wage and job sex-discrimination in the
labour market
Commitment at the highest level to promote
women’s rights to education.
Component 2: Make schools girl-friendly
Provide school with basic sanitation and separate toilets
Ensure that schools respect girls’ safety and privacy
Facilitate the return to school of pregnant girls
Protect girls against violence at school
Encourage community participation and
parental support
Build schools closer to girls’ homes and in areas
belonging to the same community
Component 3: Make schooling gender-sensitive
Eliminate gender bias in teacher attitudes against girls via training
Employ more adequately educated and trained female
teachers
Ensure that educational materials are gender sensitive and eliminate
gender stereotypes
Provide curricula that are sensitive to present and future needs of girls
Component 4: Make school more affordable
Remove direct costs as fees, but also indirect cost incurred
by uniforms or books
Provide free or cheap transportation to school
Provide breakfast or meals at schools
Reduce student domestic workload
Provide targeted scholarships to girls,
particularly for secondary education
12
The imperative to abolish primary school fees
Primary fees still exist in a great number of countries.
The reduction of direct and indirect costs of education is
imperative to attract and keep girls in school
Legal fees
(52)
Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Benin, Bhutan,
Bosnia/Herzeg., Bulgaria, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde,
Chad, Comoros, Costa Ric a, Côte d'Ivoire, Dominic a, Dominic an
Rep., Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Grenada, Guinea, GuineaBissau, Guyana, Haiti, India, Isl. Rep. Iran, Jordan, Lebanon,
Madagasc ar, Maldives, Mauritania, Moroc c o, Niger, Papua New
Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Romania, Russian Fed.,
Rwanda, Solomon Islands, South Afric a, Swaziland, Tajikistan,
Thailand, TFYR Mac edonia, Timor-Leste, Togo,
Trinidad/Tobago, Turkey, Uruguay
Illegal fees
(18)
Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Honduras, Lao PDR,
Lesotho, Liberia, Mexic o, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria,
Panama, Tonga, Uganda, Ukraine, Viet Nam
Both type of fees Burkina Faso, China, D. R. Congo, Djibouti, Ec uador, Georgia,
(19)
Indonesia, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Mali, Mauritius,
Mongolia, Nic aragua, Palestinian A. T., Rep. Moldova, Vanuatu,
Venezuela, Yemen
Countries applying fees in primary education
13
More female teachers are essential
The low proportion of trained female primary teachers
impedes girls’ enrolment
100
90
Share of female teachers (%)
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
Preprimary
Primary
Secondary
10
0
Sub-Saharan
Africa
Arab
States
Central
Asia
East Asia
Pacific
South
West
Asia
Latin
America
Caribbean
North
America
Western
Europe
Central
Eastern
Europe
14
Effective adult literacy programmes
Appropriate
programmes




Relevant curricula
Participatory teaching
Sufficient teaching hours
Appropriate and sensitive
learning groups
 Sufficient and well-designed
teaching materials
 Programmes available in
mother tongue languages
 Sufficient teaching hours
Better status
for educators
 Defining the appropriate
length of training
 Accreditation and on-thejob support
 Increased pay
 Use of ICTs and distance
learning
 Better professional
development is imperative
15
Enriching the literate
environment
The influence of print materials,
mass media and ICTs
 Contribute to the spread of literacy
 Help individuals sustain their newly acquired skills
 Positive impact of literacy materials in the home
 Literate environments encompass a range of lifelong learning
opportunities. Importance of:





Print and broadcast media
Publishing and information policies
Special publications for newly literate
School textbook investment strategy
Public reading rooms and libraries
16
Costing literacy programmes
The average cost of literacy programmes is on
a par with primary education
Estimated average per learner:
US$47 in Africa, US$30 in Asia and US$61 in Latin America
 Cost parameters are difficult to standardize: start-up costs, training of
educators, production of learning materials, operating costs
 Preliminary work on cost of providing a 400-hour literacy programme to 550
million people: at least US$2.5 billion per year to 2015
 Adult literacy: 1% of national education budgets typically allocated to literacy
 A survey of bilateral donors and development banks shows that few explicitly
refer to literacy in their aid policies
17
The EFA gender balance sheet:
ten years left, major challenges remain
 Fastest girls’ enrolment in primary school occurring in countries
with the greatest need
 Accelerate efforts towards universal primary education, with a
special focus on measures to favour gender equality
 Massive scaling up of literacy programmes, especially for women
 Political commitment is paramount
18
Contact Information
EFA Global Monitoring Report Team
c/o UNESCO
7, place de Fontenoy
75352 Paris 07
France
[email protected]
www.efareport.unesco.org
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