Magazine article European Social Policy

Education : Expert Group Makes Recommendations on Tackling Illiteracy

Magazine article European Social Policy

Education : Expert Group Makes Recommendations on Tackling Illiteracy

Article excerpt

Literacy programmes for families struggling with paperwork, the recruitment of reading specialists in schools, individual support for the weakest students and more diverse reading material - including digital resources - to capture the interest of boys who are less likely to read for pleasure: these are just some of the recommendations made in an 80-page report by a group of European educational experts, presented at a conference hosted by the Cyprus Presidency in Nicosia this week.

The EU does not have binding powers when it comes to education. However, via this report, written by teachers, researchers and representatives of educational associations, the Commission is launching a long-awaited debate on this crucial issue; according to 2009 figures from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), one 15-year-old child in five in the EU does not have basic reading and writing skills when leaving school, and 75 million adults have the same problem - leading to catastrophic social and professional consequences.

The expert group makes recommendations for each age category, and the report places particular emphasis on literacy programmes for families, such as schemes for parents, which have already been set up in Germany, France and the United Kingdom, and have been found to be extremely successful. The group considers high-quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) to be another good investment; children who have received ECEC tend to have better reading and writing skills and do better at school. …

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