ELINET Declaration of European Citizens’ Right to Literacy
The European Literacy Conference 2016, organised by the European Literacy Policy Network – ELINET, was this year held in Amsterdam from 20 to 22 January 2016. The purpose of the Conference was to present the results of research conducted by ELINET over the last two years. Conference participants were also presented with examples of good practice in all aspects and fields of literacy-oriented campaigns and programmes, along with the latest tools used with the aim to raise awareness of literacy-related issues as well as those used for the purpose of organising successful literacy-related fundraising campaigns.
One of the results of the Conference was also the launching of the Declaration of European Citizens’ Right to Literacy which was prompted by the results of surveys conducted by the European Commission which indicate serious literacy-related challenges and negative developments in Europe during the last ten years. The available data show that every fifth 15-year-old and nearly 55 million adult European citizens lack basic literacy skills. In the society of the 21st century which is founded on knowledge and characterised by the rapid advance of new technologies and constant changes in the working environment, learning – for which literacy is an essential requirement – is no longer limited to childhood or young age, but has been recognised as a lifelong necessity. Since literacy is the basis of the development of our civilization and the means enabling the individual to lead a culturally and socially meaningful life, a varied team of literacy experts drew up the Declaration of European Citizens’ Right to Literacy to highlight the ways in which children and young adults can develop and adults improve their literacy skills.
ELINET has encouraged all public institutions to present the Declaration to the wider public and inform local decision makers of its content and significance, particularly urging libraries and their staff to introduce it to their users.
The representatives of the Croatian Reading Association, which operates as part of ELINET, also took part in the Conference, actively participating in the part of the conference programme focusing on the organisation of activities aimed at raising awareness of the importance of reading and literacy and making up the basis of efficient literacy campaigns.