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ERIC Number: ED420843
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998
Pages: 11
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development: Functional Literacy and Corporate Agendas.
Hyslop-Margison, Emery J.; Margison, Judith Ann
This paper examines the conception of functional literacy advanced by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), a 29-member organization of leading industrialized countries, as part of its 1994 International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS). The paper suggests that embedded within this conception of literacy and the discourse from which it evolves is an entire economic agenda. It notes that the IALS study developed a scale of literacy performance to allow comparisons of literacy between people within a wide range of abilities and across cultures and languages. According to the paper, OECD's perspective is that literacy's primary function is to satisfy the human resource demands of the global corporate community. The paper contends that OECD's conception of literacy is divided into three distinct strands: prose, document, and quantitative, and that within those strands, the learner's function is to extract the information contained in text and apply it in a specific, predetermined manner. The paper argues that it is misguided to believe that language is a neutral medium to convey objective ideas--for example, although the prevailing corporate discourse presents the free market system as a force of nature similar to the law of gravity, an economic system constructed to empower some individuals over others is not the same as an inexorable natural law. The paper concludes that like other educational concepts, models of literacy instruction contain social theories or models of social order, social power, and social change. (NKA)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A