Another important activity that ICAE participated in was the Annual General Meeting of the Global Alliance for Literacy (GAL). ICAE is an associate member of GAL, which includes as its members the 20 countries with adult literacy rates lower than 50% and the E-9 countries in which the majority of adults have low-level literacy skills. The two-day meeting was focused on assessing the challenges of COVID 19 on youth and adult literacy. The national education response plans and strategies in the context of the pandemic were presented together with the strategies employed by some countries for ensuring access to literacy provision is sustained during the pandemic. Further on, partnership for advancing literacy beyond the COVID-19 crises and how best to contribute towards the SDGs were also explored. The GAL strategic goals and future directions were reviewed.
As ICAE, we shared our concerns that the increased focus on digitalisation as the best way to bridge the learning gaps created by the COVID-19 crises might leave more people further behind and increase the digital divide, especially for the more vulnerable groups. We advocated for further exploration and exchange of blended models of learning as a solution that will help to improve literacy opportunities for those who need them most.
A year ago ICAE and many of our members responded to a GAL survey on literacy policies and programs, conducted by the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) in order to catalyse the coordinated efforts of all stakeholders towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in general, and SDG Target 4.6 on youth and adult literacy and numeracy in particular. Both governmental and non-governmental organizations in GAL countries were invited to complete the survey online. The survey results will be shared widely by the end of the year and will contribute to future GAL activities. As soon as it is available in the public domain, we will send the link to you.