Literacy Education and Sustainable Development in Developing Societies

Jonathan E. Oghenekohwo, Ekima A. Frank-Oputu


The development of a literate society is a pre-requisite for the emergence of a knowledge economy. The thesis advanced in this paper is that, without massive investment and promotion of literacy education, development that is targeted at the 17-point sustainable development goals (SDGs) will be bereft of citizen’s empowerment, engagement, experiential values and evidential consequences in social change. Therefore, using a qualitative approach conceptual), this study explored the causal correlation that subsists between literacy education, emergence of knowledge economy and sustainable development. The study established that, literacy is basic in andragogical context for facilitating citizens’ values re-orientation   attitudinal change for the acquisition of vocational or functional skills and operational knowledge that is beneficial to individual as well as the collective drive for a literate society for the reduction of vulnerability and increase in sustainability in development respectively as expected in the SDGs. Consequently, the resultant outcomes will be a knowledge driven economy which is essential for the attainment of the sustainable development goals as envisaged by the United Nations declaration of 25th of September, 2015. 


Literacy, education, sustainable development, knowledge economy and social-change

Full Text:



Annan, K. (2005). Literacy and sustainable development. Bangkok: UNESCO.

Bertschy, F., Kinzli, C., & Lehmann, M. (2013). Teachers’ competencies for the implementation of educational offers in the field of education for sustainable development. Sustainability, 5, 5067-5080.

Bhola, H.S. & Gomez, S.V. (2008).Signposts to literacy for sustainable development complementary studies. Hamburg: UNESCO.

Bhola, H.S. (1984). A policy analysis of adult literacy promotion in the third world: An accounting of promises made and promises fulfilled. International Review of Education, 30(2), 249-264.

Brinkley, I. (2006). Defining the knowledge economy. Knowledge economy programme report. London: The Work Foundation.

Drucker, P. (1998). From capitalism to knowledge society. D. Neef (ed). The Knowledge economy. Wobum M.A. Butterworth.

Hussen, A. (2004). Principles of environmental economics. New York: Routledge.

Nolet, V. (2009). Preparing sustainability-literate teachers. Teachers College Record, 111(2), 409-422.

OECD (1999).The knowledge-based economy. A set of facts and figures. Parris: OECD

OECD. (2012). Education in the Post-2015 Development Agenda: Draft Synthesis Report of the Global Thematic Consultation on Education (March draft).

Oghenekohwo, J. E. (2013). Adult learning in the context of comparative higher education. Procedia: Social and Behavioural Science, 106, 338-347.

United Nations (1987). Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future, Retrieved from

Smith, K. (2000). What is the knowledge economy? Knowledge-intensive industries and distributed knowledge bases. Prepared as part of the project innovation policy in a knowledge-based economy. Commissioned by the European commission. Oslo: Step Group.

Stibbe, A. & Luna, H. (2009). Introduction. In A. Stibbe & H. Luna (Eds), The Handbook of sustainability Literacy Skills for a changing World (pp. 9-16). Cornwall, UK: Green Books Ltd.

Tillbury, D. (2011). Education for sustainable development. New York: UNESCO. Retrieved from

UNDP (2001). Human development report: Marking new technologies work for human development. New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press.

UNESCO (2006). Education Today: The newsletter of UNESCO’s education sector. No. 16 February- Mary, p. 7

UNESCO (2012). Education and Skills for Inclusive and Sustainable Development.

UNESCO (2012). Regional High-Level Expert Meeting (9-11 May). Towards EFA 2015 and Beyond-Shaping a New Vision of Education.

United Nations Development Group. (2013). The Global Conversation Begins. Emerging Views for a New Development Agenda.

United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (2000). Education for sustainable development. Bangkok: UNESCO.

United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. (2004). United Nations decades of education for sustainable development: Draft international implementation scheme. Retrieved from and

United Nations (2013). A Renewed Global Partnership for Development.

Warren, A., Archamboult, L., & Foley, R. W. (2014). Sustainability education framework for teachers: developing sustainability literacy through futures, values, systems and strategic thinking. Journal of Sustainability Education, 6(4), 23-28.

Wiek, A., Withycombe, L., & Redman, C. L. (2011). Key competencies in sustainability: a reference framework for academic program development. Sustainability Science, 6(2), 203-218.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2013-2023 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

International Journal of Education and Literacy Studies  

You may require to add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list’ If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox'. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.