Please seemultiple parts of this WUNRN release on Gender, Literacy, Education, Human Rights.



The Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2008


Every year, the EFA Global Monitoring Report assesses where the world stands on its commitment to provide a basic education to all children, youth and adults by 2015.Developed by an independent team and published by UNESCO, the report is an authoritative reference that aims to inform, influence and sustain genuine commitment towards education for all.


*Only 59 countries with data had achieved gender parity in primary and secondary education by 2005.


*Gender equality remains elusive: Sexual violence, insecure school environments and inadequate sanitation disproportionately affect girls' self-esteem, participation, and retention. Textbooks, curricula, and teach attitudes cntinue to reinforce stereotypes on  gender roles in society.


*Worldwide, 774 million adults lack basic literacy skills, as measured by conventional methods. Some 64% of them are women, a share virtually unchanged since the early 1990's.





United Nations Literacy Decade 2003 - 2012

UNESCO leads the United Nations Literacy Decade (UNLD) under the slogan of “Literacy as Freedom”. Launched at UN Headquarters in 2003, the Decade aims to increase literacy levels and to empower all people everywhere. In declaring this Decade, the international community recognised that the promotion of literacy is in the interest of all, as part of efforts towards peace, respect and exchange in a globalizing world.


Literacy Must Be Recognized as a Right Concludes UNESCO Regional Conference in India


South & South West Asia: "Yet even today about 40 percent of the total adult population cannot read or write and the great majority of these people are women.”




New Delhi, 30 November – Stubbornly high rates of illiteracy will only be reduced if governments make literacy a priority and recognize it as a right, concluded participants at the UNESCO regional conference on literacy challenges in South, South West and Central Asia, which closed here today.


“The Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2008, launched by UNESCO this week states that ‘Illiteracy is receiving minimal political attention and remains a global disgrace.’ I firmly endorse this sentiment,” said the Director-General of UNESCO, Koichiro Matsuura, at a press conference in New Delhi this afternoon.


“Literacy is undeniably a right and must be recognized as such,” he said. “The countries of South and South West Asia have certainly made great strides towards building literate societies over the past two decades. Yet even today about 40 percent of the total adult population cannot read or write and the great majority of these people are women.”


According to UNESCO’s statistics, some 380 million adults throughout South and South-West Asia do not have basic literacy skills. The world total is 774 million, although the Global Monitoring Report suggests that the figure may be much higher. In Central Asia, although overall literacy levels are high, there remains an important gender gap.


The two-day conference, which brought together experts and government representatives from 14 countries in South, South-West and Central Asia, examined the main challenges facing the region, including funding, gender equality and the lack of “literate environments” which encourage parents and children to build their literacy skills. They also looked at practical ways of tackling the problems by analyzing a range of successful programmes and projects and exchanging ideas and experiences on the different issues under discussion.


The participants stressed that literacy must be recognized as a right, and fully integrated into education sector planning with sufficient funding. Pointing out that over two thirds of illiterate adults were women, they underscored the need for literacy policies to address gender disparities. Programmes, they recommended, should be strongly linked to life-skills development, including entrepreneurial and income-generating activities.


The conference also recommended that although governments must take primary responsibility for providing literacy learning opportunities, partnerships with civil society organizations, community-based associations and the private sector also be encouraged. The participants emphasized the importance of greater regional cooperation and collaboration. The international community, they said, also needs to give the issue higher priority.


This was the fourth in a series of six regional and sub-regional conferences organized by UNESCO to promote global literacy. The first three took place earlier this year in Doha (Qatar), Beijing (China) and Bamako (Mali). Two more conferences covering Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean will be held in the course of 2008.

These initiatives follow the Global Literacy Conference organized by the White House in New York on 18 September 2006, under the auspices of Laura Bush, First Lady of the United States and Honorary Ambassador for the United Nations Literacy Decade. That conference marked the start of an international campaign to promote literacy within the framework of the United Nations Literacy Decade (2003-2012) and UNESCO’s Literacy Initiative for Empowerment, LIFE (2006-2015).

To leave the list, send your request by email to: wunrn_listserve-request@lists.wunrn.com. Thank you.