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Literacy development – Political aspects

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This workshop looks at the political and financial aspects of the literacy development model in Scotland and compares them with the experiences carried out in other European countries.

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[Learning Connections-http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Education/Life-Long-Learning/17551] explains that the catalysing element for the launching of its new literacy programme was the publication in 2001 of a study revealing the high rate of illiteracy in the population. Between then and 2006, 100 million euros were injected by the government, to which other local and European funds were added. These funds were distributed via the agency in charge of the Learning Connections initiative and a large network of partners.

First observation: compared to the situation of the other European representatives present (Ireland, France, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, etc.), the Scottish budget appeared to be of considerable importance. For Scotland, it is indeed the funds invested and the choice of an approach based on community development that represent the main keys for the policy’s success. In order to explain the sudden leap of the number of learners, Learning Connections sets forth the diversity of programmes implemented and the increase of care and training facilities.

Nevertheless, the government agency acknowledges the fact that the current professionalisation process of trainers does not yet compensate the staff deficit in the sector. The different European partners present note the important national disparities in the terminology used (definitions of illiteracy) or in the policies implemented (awareness raising within companies, progress in the system of competence assessment, trainee remuneration, etc.)