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International Review of Education

, Volume 65, Issue 2, pp 251–275 | Cite as

Examining the application of the lifelong learning principle to the literacy target in the fourth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 4)

  • Ulrike HanemannEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

Among the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the fourth one is about ensuring “inclusive and equitable quality education” and promoting “lifelong learning opportunities for all”. This goal (SDG 4) is subdivided into 10 targets, the sixth of which concerns youth and adult literacy and numeracy. This article examines the current discursive landscape around SDG target 4.6, to determine the extent to which it reflects the lifelong learning perspective guiding the Education 2030 Framework for Action. SDG target 4.6 envisages a minimum proficiency level in literacy and numeracy which is equivalent to the level achieved upon successful completion of basic education. The author’s analysis unpacks “lifelong literacy”, and discerns three closely interrelated dimensions, namely (1) literacy as a lifelong learning process; (2) literacy as a life-wide process; and (3) literacy as part of sector-wide reforms towards lifelong learning systems. Although available documentary evidence is still limited, the author identifies a number of broad trends, many of which do not give cause for optimism. She argues that an expanded vision of literacy has not yet taken hold. There is still a long way to go before literacy (and numeracy) are tackled from a lifelong learning perspective, which would potentially have a transformative effect on the achievement of the SDGs.

Keywords

literacy and numeracy lifelong learning basic education adult education Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 

Résumé

Examiner l’application du principe d’apprentissage tout au long de la vie à l’objectif d’alphabétisation inclus dans l’Objectif de développement durable 4 (ODD 4) – Parmi les 17 Objectifs de développement durable adoptés par les Nations Unies, le quatrième consiste à « assurer l’accès de tous à une éducation de qualité, sur un pied d’égalité, et promouvoir les possibilités d’apprentissage tout au long de la vie ». Cet Objectif (ODD 4) se subdivise en dix cibles, dont la sixième concerne l’alphabétisation des jeunes et des adultes. Cet article analyse le paysage discursif actuel concernant la cible 4.6, en vue de déterminer dans quelle mesure il reflète la perspective d’apprentissage tout au long de la vie, principe directeur du Cadre d’action Éducation 2030. L’ODD 4.6 envisage un niveau de maîtrise minimale en lecture, écriture et calcul, équivalent à celui atteint après achèvement concluant de l’éducation de base. L’analyse de l’auteure décortique le concept « alphabétisation tout au long de la vie » et discerne trois dimensions étroitement liées, à savoir : (1) l’alphabétisation, processus d’apprentissage tout au long de la vie, (2) l’alphabétisation touchant tous les domaines de la vie, et (3) l’alphabétisation intégrée dans des réformes sectorielles favorisant des systèmes d’apprentissage tout au long de la vie. Malgré les données documentaires à disposition encore limitées, l’auteure identifie plusieurs tendances générales dont une grande partie ne laisse guère de place à l’optimisme. Elle constate qu’une conception élargie de l’alphabétisation ne s’est pas encore établie. La route est encore longue avant que l’alphabétisation (y compris la numératie) soit abordée sous l’angle de l’apprentissage tout au long de la vie. Il est possible que ce dernier ait un effet transformateur sur l’atteinte des Objectifs de développement durable.

Notes

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Copyright information

© UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning and Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Independent international literacy and education specialistHamburgGermany

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