The Global Alliance for Literacy within the Framework of Lifelong Learning (GAL)
The UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, one of UNESCO’s specialist institutions with a core mandate for literacy and lifelong learning, has been asked by UNESCO to lead the consultation process for establishing the Global Alliance for Literacy within the Framework of Lifelong Learning (GAL). As literacy will play a direct or indirect role in achieving many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), GAL aims to help Member States make accelerated progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Alliance, which will be composed of experts and representatives of UN and government agencies, donors, national and international non-governmental organizations, and the private sector, will work towards improving literacy for sustainable development through concrete action and tangible outcomes.
Reasons for establishing GAL
The international community recognizes literacy as an ‘indispensable foundation for independent learning’ in the Education 2030 Incheon Declaration and Framework for Action. ‘A world with universal literacy’ is also a key part of the vision set out in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. The Agenda’s target for literacy is ‘to ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy’ by 2030 (Target 4.6). GAL aims to help Member States achieve this ambitious target.
Challenges for GAL
GAL will encourage policy coherence and take action to promote the mobilization of resources, the availability of high-quality and timely data through improved assessment and monitoring, the effective utilization of information and communications technology, and the creation of multi-stakeholder partnerships at regional and national levels. Furthermore, GAL will be transversal in three ways: across age (from early childhood through to adulthood); across languages and cultures (with special attention paid to gender, diversity, inclusion and empowerment); and across sectors (such as education, health and sanitation, agriculture, environment and climate, employment and industry, and urbanization and migration). In short, GAL will stimulate and promote collaborative programmes that connect literacy with the sustainable development agenda within a lifelong and life-wide approach.
GAL will be shaped by Member States and development partners as an effective platform for sustained action at all levels. Some promising pathways include:
- fostering innovation and the creative use of technology;
- supporting decentralized, community-managed learning centres;
- promoting literacy assessment practices that enhance learner motivation and improve programmes;
- placing an emphasis on using literacy and numeracy skills in daily life; and
- offering a large menu of options in different languages to address diverse learning needs.