On the occasion of the 3201st Education, Youth, Cultre and Sport meeting that takes place between 26 and 27 November in Brussels, ministers have called on the European Commission and member states to take additional measures in order to improve literacy levels for both children and adults in the EU.
Currently in the EU, around 1.1 million 15 year olds have inadequate literacy levels and according to Education and Training 2020 programme that was adopted in 2009, EU aims to drop their numbers below 15%.
As the council indicates low literacy levels hold back economic growth and reduce its sustainability. As a result, it calls Member States to strengthen initiatives and raise awareness in order to break the taboo of poor literacy skills in all ages, to establish family literacy programmes (especially for socio-economically disadvantaged families), to ensure access to high quality early childhood education, to update teaching material and methods in order to keep up with digital progress, to provide teachers with guidelines as to address individual needs and deal with students’ difficulties and finally, to establish an evidence base of literacy through monitoring and data collection.
In addition, the council called on the commission to assist member states and create a European network of organizations in order to develop and support national literacy policies and organize a Europe Loves Reading week aiming to raise awareness of literacy issues.
It also asks the commission to present a policy cooperation report in 2013 as to reduce the levels of low achievers, to adopt new technologies, to use data in policy making and lastly, to strengthen national monitoring and data collection in cooperation with the OECD.
Furthermore, it called both on the commission and member states to report their actions and possible results in the next Joint Report of the council and the commission on the implementation of the strategic framework for European co-operation in education and training (ET2020) in 2015.
Finally, the council pointed to the Lifelong Learning Programme and the future EU programme on education and training, as well as to the resources of the European Social Fund in order to achieve successful results in promoting literacy.