In Syria, UNESCO assesses the literacy and life skills of the youth

In times of crisis, the ability to measure literacy levels among young people and adults constitutes a huge global challenge. Understanding what young people know is essential to provide relevant responses to enhance their learning and help them reach the needed literacy levels to aspire to better lives. Literacy constitutes a lifelong learning process, and it doesn’t stop at literacy and numeracy. In a world under deep transformation, a world that is more digital and more interconnected, 21st century skills, sustainable development and global citizenship skills are needed more than ever before.

In this context, UNESCO has developed tests to assess literacy, numeracy and life skills of young men and women in Syria aged between 15 and 24. A trained team of assessors has been deployed to meet young people and their families, and to conduct an evaluation of their skills to be completed by the end of 2021.

The importance of this type of information at the national and global levels and in the context of the Syrian crisis, resides in the fact that information related to literacy, numeracy and life skills helps to understand the issues that young people face during crises, including when it comes to their participation in community development.

This literacy assessment allows to identify capacity gaps, so that rapid measures can be taken to address key and urgent needs in a timely manner, ensuring that no one is left behind. These include, for instance, alternative learning programmes that are relevant and age-appropriate. The results of the assessment will also help better understand the extent of youth access to alternative pathways to education programmes, provide recommendations to address youth literacy challenges, and improve their competencies to enhance their future and that of their communities.