Capabilities are not only abilities that reside inside humans, but they also comprise the political, social, and economic environment. Literacy is a capability whose fulcrum is far away from the individual, depending crucially on societal forces that can hinder or promote human development. The efficiency of this promotion is critically constrained by the availability of accurate knowledge. Knowing about literacy is contingent upon an interdisciplinary web of expertise that can, within a reasonable timeline, produce that sort of knowledge. Such networks already exist in Europe, but needs to be sustained so that it can face the demands of the new digital era. Through this Action, reading and writing research communities across Europe are joining, integrating their findings, and aligning their agendas so that they can: 1) develop an integrated and inclusive approach to foundational literacy across Europe; 2) devise a comprehensive framework of developmental aspects of literacy and education in a digital world; and 3) further improve literacy technologies. This will be valuable for promoting citizens’ interdependence, participation, and innovation, which are key assets to a united and diverse Europe. For that, Europe needs a Literacy Network via which capabilities can be strengthened to all of its citizens.
Professor Per Henning Uppstad is representing the Norwegian Reading Centre in the COST Action.