Strategic objective B.2.
Eradicate illiteracy among women
Actions to be taken
81. By Governments, national, regional and international bodies, bilateral and multilateral donors and non-governmental organizations:
d. Narrow the disparities between developed and developing countries;
e. Encourage adult and family engagement in learning to promote total literacy for all people;
f. Promote, together with literacy, life skills and scientific and technological knowledge and work towards an expansion of the definition of literacy, taking into account current targets and benchmarks.
Beijing Declaration (1995)
The problems with illiteracy are numerous, empirically known, and verifiable in the recommendations of international organizations and documents. The question: why are the solutions not being pursued? It is an important question.
I leave that as a homework assignment for the interested. The level of analysis for this paragraph comes in the form of the governments and then the “bodies” from the national to the global. It includes the donors and the NGOs.
That is to say, this is a paragraph twin set about most relevant organizations dealing with one of the fundamental problems, which is illiteracy. Reading, writing, and arithmetic, are foundational cornerstones to functioning within a society.
For those who fail to integrate, some of the reasons will, probably, include the inability to become educated based on functional illiteracy, which becomes a problem, apart from some cognitive deficit, of the educational system and, unfortunately, a failure in many cases.
The point of these two paragraphs appears to be the focus on the development of both developed and developing societies’ with an emphasis on a wide array of organizations to reduce the level of disparity between them. Thus, the improvement in developing societies should outpace the rate of literacy improvement of developed ones.
The second section deals with the integration of family and adults to improve the rate of literacy not only for kids but also the family and adults themselves. Living in Canada, there is a rich tradition of working to build a literate culture.
One with the ability to adapt to the changes in intellectual culture while, maybe, having much of our own intact. In an information-rich world, this is almost a mandatory skill-set, to be cognitively flexible based on literacy levels of the nation.
Therefore, (d) and (e) seem intimately related to one another. The closing of the gap between the status of these societies socio-economically relates to the level of development built in the ability to operate in the modern knowledge economy.
With the promotion in a family and with adults, and in the closing of the disparities in literacy between the rich and the poor societies, there are a set of skills in life and in technical expertise, even basic actually, that should be born in mind for the reduction in the problems associated with illiteracy.
One example which comes to mind: many electronic books exist for free or cheap. These can be used to become autodidactic educational tools, and to learn more about the world. But, in these electronic cases, it requires some basic technological knowledge and tech savvy. Otherwise, it could be for naught.
Thus, the emphasis on the social networks – family and adults, the large collectives – international and national organizations and NGOs and nations at large, and the technology of the time – electronic books and other basic 21st century life skills, are non-trivial for the reduction of illiteracy, even more than 2 decades past 1995.
- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the Preamble, Article 16, and Article 25(2).
- Convention Against Discrimination in Education (1960) in Article 1.
- The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966) in Article 3, Article 7, and Article 13.
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966).
- Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1979).
- Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (1984).
- The Declaration on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (1993).
- Beijing Declaration(1995).
- United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000).
- Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children (2000).
- The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa or the “Maputo Protocol” (2003).
- Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence or the Istanbul Convention (2011) Article 38 and Article 39.
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