Connections with the rest of Europe

UKLA is a key member of the ILA’s International Development in Europe Committee (IDEC), which brings together all IRA affiliated associations on this continent. IDEC acts as a forum for the exchange of practice and ideas. It holds twice yearly meetings, usually combined with seminars for local teachers, and a large conference every two years. In August 2013, Jönköping was the venue for New Challenges, New Literacies, the 18th European Conference on Reading, with participants from 27 European countries. UKLA provided a strong input for this conference both at the planning stage and through a number of well-received parallel presentations.

Literacy in the New Landscape of Communication, the 19th European conference on Literacy, (note change of title) takes place in mid-July 2015 in Klagenfurt, Austria and will be similarly rich in participants from different countries.

UKLA has also played a very active role in the setting up and running of FELA, the Federation of European Literacy Associations (FELA).  The reason for the existence of this 2nd European Literacy body is that, as a committee of a US based organisation, IDEC is not eligible to apply for various European grants. With a broadly similar membership to IDEC  FELA allows the European Associations more freedom of action, particularly in applications for European funds. Its establishment heralds a new chapter in the co-operation and interaction between the very many European literacy associations. For further information go to the IDEC website at and the FELA website at

Both directly and indirectly through FELA, UKLA is playing an active role in Elinet.


What is it and how is it going?

I’ve a vague idea that ELINET is something European that UKLA is involved with.  What is it exactly?

Elinet is a vast project, three quarters funded by the European Commission, made up of 78 partner organisations (who provide the remaining quarter of the funding) from 28 European countries.

What is ELINET for?

Elinet’s prime aim is the improvement of literacy education policy across Europe.  To achieve this it has a twofold mission:

  • first, to bring together, synthesise, analyse and amplify scattered data about the state of literacy teaching, cradle to grave, in each of the 28 countries involved into Country Reports, and to add examples of Good Practice;
  • secondly, to launch a process of fundraising, publicity and awareness-raising that will bring literacy education to the fore in the minds of the decision-makers and citizens of Europe.


What is UKLA’s role?

UKLA is a small player, with only 16 days of allocated work for the project (as against the 647 of the UCL Institute of Education).  So far that time has mainly been used to:

  • participate in  Elinet meetings – Liz Chamberlain played an active role in the initial meeting in Vienna and Henrietta Dombey recently came back from engaging in the mid-point meeting in Budapest;
  • respond to a series of lengthy questionnaires about publicity and fundraising;
  • refine the framework for the Country Reports;
  • collect and refine accounts of Good Practice.

What about FELA?

FELA (the Federation of European Literacy Associations), which has a rather larger involvement than UKLA in Elinet, has, through its Chairperson, Greg Brooks, played a key role on Elinet’s Management Board and also in negotiating the European Commission’s acceptance of NGOs, such as FELA and UKLA, as legitimate partners in the project.  Greg has also been commissioned with Maxine Burton to produce a glossary of terms used in the initial teaching and learning of literacy.

What are the other UK agencies involved?

As well as the UCL Institute of Education, the University of York, the National Literacy Trust and Education Scotland are all involved in contributing to the Country Reports in various ways. Book Trust, Beanstalk, NIACE and the NLT are engaged in the fund-raising, awareness-raising and publicity activities.

How is it all working out?

  • The Country Reports are well on the way, as are the examples of Good Practice, currently being selected through review.
  • Toolkits for fundraising and awareness-raising have been developed.
  • Plans are moving ahead for a Europe-wide Literacy Week (actually ten days) starting on September 8th this year (International Literacy Day) and culminating in a large event in Brussels on the 17th involving key players in literacy education across Europe.
  • These ‘key players’ will also be invited to Elinet’s closing conference, which will take place in Amsterdam in January 2016.

The hope is that more enlightened, informed and enthusiastic approaches to literacy education will spread through the countries of Europe.

To find out more about EliNet, please download the presentation below.


EliNet Presentation

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