The starting conference of the project ELINET was held in Vienna from the 24th of February until the 27th.
80 organizations from 28 countries were present, including the Hungarian Institute for Educational Research and Development (HIERD), and the Faculty of Education of the College of Kecskemét. At the official opening ceremony held in the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research, H.R.H. Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands launched the project. Furthermore, Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth welcomed the new initiative in a video message, and highlighted its importance.
The goal of the cooperation is to reduce illiteracy in Europe. Every fifth European youngster of around 15 years and almost 75 million adults lack basic reading and writing skills, which makes it difficult for them to find a job, and increases the risks of poverty and social exclusion.
In 2011 the European Commission established a High Level Group of experts, who examined how to support literacy throughout lifelong learning, identified common success factors, examined a range of literacy programmes and policy initiatives, and came up with proposals for improving literacy. Following the work of the Group, the European Commission initiated a network supporting strengthening of literacy skills, with the aim of raising awareness, gathering and analyzing policy information, and exchanging policy approaches, good practices, and initiatives in order to reduce the number of people with low literacy skills by 2020.
The Hungarian Institute for Educational Research and Development actively participates in the tasks of the network. All of the ongoing research in the Institute harmonizes with the goals of ELINET from all aspects. Curriculum development and standardization projects that are currently being undertaken by the HIERD could produce useful results for ELINET. Developing literacy skills and digital competence was a highlighted feature of the Educational Knowledge Depot project of the National Educational Library and Museum of the HIERD, realized between 2009-2012. Our plan is to bring in the results of this project (such as the Reading Portal) as an input to the international ELINET project, hereby expanding our dissemination channels, which is an obligation of the Institute.