SDS Seminar / 20 September, 4pm (online) / Mashhood Alam Bhat: Universal Literacy in the 21st Century: Learning from historical mass literacy campaigns in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Google Meet link: https://meet.google.com/kyv-mhiy-dmh
Universal Literacy in the 21st century: Learning from Historical Mass Literacy Campaigns in Asia, Africa and Latin America
The SDG 4 aims to ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults achieve basic literacy and numeracy by 2030. Governments, international development organisations, academicians, and civil society stakeholders are struggling to find answers to how basic literacy can be delivered and sustained at scale. However, it is equally important to ensure that literacy campaigns and programs are equitable in access to diverse socio-economic groups, sensitive to cultural diversity, and enable justice for the marginalized.
The talk will attempt to inform this discussion by drawing from comparative research on some ‘successful’ historical mass literacy movements in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Drawing from case studies in the book ‘Disruptive Literacy: A Roadmap for Urgent Global Action,’ the talk will unpack the social, economic, and political contexts and processes that enabled nations to achieve huge gains in literacy rates in short time periods. We will also discuss how literacy was identified as a critical national development goal and how a variety of state and non-state stakeholders, youth and student volunteers, and worker’s associations were mobilised through policy, governance, and technology mechanisms. And finally, the talk will raise some questions on what we can learn from these movements when thinking of literacy campaigns and programs that are equitable, contextual, and enabling for the marginalized in the context of countries with extreme inequalities like India.
About the speaker:
Mashhood Alam Bhat is an educational practitioner and researcher interested in advancing equity and quality in school education. He has worked with organizations like Pratham, DEVI Sansthan and NIEPA. His research has focused on the themes of literacy, teacher resource allocation, and the role of education in peacebuilding and minority inclusion. Most recently, he has co-authored a book titled Disruptive Literacy: A Roadmap for Urgent Global Action. He is an alumnus of AUD (MA Development Studies 2014-16) and is currently an Education Policy and Analysis Master's candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.