“Literacy and Empowerment: A contribution to the debate”

UNESCO has recently released “Literacy and Empowement: A contribution to the debate: Background study commissioned in the framework of the United Nations Literacy Decade”. Written by Nelly P. Stromquist, University of Maryland, this 13-page report delves into these topics:

  • Defining the concept of empowerment
  • Literacy and empowerment: The research evidence
  • Taking empowerment seriously

Stromquist shares key insights such as, “Learning is always a situated practice, within a specific cultural, institutional, and historical context. Learning is developmental in nature as students learn in different ways and at different times in their academic and ordinary lives.” (p. 7) and “there is an urgent need to reconceptualize adult literacy, all the way from program design to instructional approaches, from objectives to criteria for successful impact, from instructor/facilitator training to provision of graduated reading materials”.

This report is concise, easy-to-read and provocative. Here’s the direct download link: unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0018/001876/187698e.pdf


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Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.


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