• DE - Deutsch
  • EN - English
Parlementaire vraag - E-003345/2011(ASW)Parlementaire vraag
    Dit document bestaat niet in het Nederlands. Het wordt u aangeboden in een andere beschikbare taal uit het keuzemenu.

    Answer given by Ms Vassiliou on behalf of the Commission

    Functional literacy is among the priority areas of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020). Under the ET 2020 strategic framework, Member States made a commitment to develop cooperation on basic skills and to reduce the share of low-achieving 15-year-olds in reading, mathematics and science to less than 15 % by 2020, as measured by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). In 2009, the share of low achievers in reading literacy stood at 20.0 %, a decrease compared to the figure of 21.3 % in 2000. Although not a measure of illiteracy as such, PISA test scores provide a clear indication of the level of functional literacy of the students; 12.9 % of students are capable only of locating pieces of explicitly stated information that are prominent in a text, therefore recognising the main idea (PISA performance level 1a). Nearly 5 % of 15-year-olds in the EU can only find explicitly stated information in short, simple texts with a familiar style and content (PISA performance level 1b), and about 1 % of students are even below this level still.

    As regards adult illiteracy, there is not a large amount of data available. In its annual Human Development Report, the UN Development Programme provides data, though only for 13 EU Member States. The available figures are provided in Table 2 in the annex[1].

    The International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) conducted by the OECD provided comparative information on literacy in a number of countries, some European. The IALS was followed by ALL (Adult Literacy and Lifeskills Survey). Both of these studies date from the 1990s. The forthcoming Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competences (PIAAC), for which the Commission assists EU Member State participation, will provide some data on functional illiteracy in the adult population, covering many, but not all, EU Member States.

    In February 2011 the Member of the Commission responsible for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth launched a literacy campaign, part of which is the High Level Group of experts in the field of literacy. This group is examining how to support literacy throughout lifelong learning, common success factors in literacy programmes and policy initiatives, and will make proposals on improving literacy among both school students and adults. The final report of the High Level Group will be published by mid‑2012.

    The action plan on Adult learning (2007-08)[2] had five priority actions focused on disadvantaged groups. Measures to combat functional illiteracy are supported by priority Action 3, which seeks to ‘increase the possibilities for adults to achieve a qualification at least one level higher than before’ (‘go one-step-up’). A number of peer learning activities have been carried out, concentrating on basic skills for low-qualified adults, leading to an inventory of good practices. The analytical report Enabling the low-skilled to take their qualifications one step-up[3] provides examples and case studies dealing with literacy and numeracy, on the basis of which a set of guidelines have been produced[4].

    Literacy and basic skills are among current priority areas of the different actions of the Lifelong Learning Programme, particularly for Comenius and Grundvig actions, which finance numerous project in this field. The European Social Fund is supporting various projects in the area of literacy, targeting both children and adults. For example: the French National Agency against Illiteracy and the UK National Research and Development Centre for adult literacy and numeracy are supported by the European Social Fund; in 2010, the Irish Adult Literacy programme, run by the Department of Education and Skills, received over EUR 95 million in financing from the European Social Fund.

    OJ C 309 E, 21/10/2011