Promoting literacy and reading

Supporting literacy programmes

Participating in campaigns for the eradication of illiteracy and supporting governmental and other efforts in this field.


The goal of universal mastery of the rudiments of reading, writing and arithmetic has by no means been fully attained. On the threshold of the twenty-first century, the situation is somewhat disturbing. In many cases, the rapid growth of primary school enrolment has slowed down or even declined, while the quality, relevance and effectiveness of primary education are being increasingly criticized. At the same time, large sections of the school-age population have inadequate access to the network of primary schools currently in existence, one the one hand, and on the other, the number of illiterates in the world continues to rise, in spite of the adult literacy drives organized by many countries.


UNESCO's mobilizing project to combat illiteracy sets out to stem illiteracy at its source by seeking to introduce universal primary schooling, democratize it and improve its quality. This includes an emphasis on expanding schooling for girls in rural areas and for the least-privileged population groups, as well as the promotion of adult education in a context of lifelong education.

UNESCO's programme includes: reviews of literacy related issues; setting up of national projects; training of project coordinators; community benchmark surveys; field demonstration projects.

Type Classification:
E: Emanations of other strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 4: Quality Education