Reading, writing and human development. evaluation of the national reading plan of colombia 2010-2016, from the capability approach

Fernández González, Santiago (2018). 'Reading, Writing and Human Development. Evaluation of the National Reading Plan of Colombia 2010-2016, from the Capability Approach' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, Buenos Aires, Argentina 2018.


The national reading and writing plans were consolidated during the 2000s as a regional initiative within the platform of educational and cultural policies. The plans are led by governments to specify and strengthen the public policy of the countries, through the coordination and articulation of efforts made by various actors, sectors and institutions, with the purpose of improving the reality of reading and writing. This process includes several phases and should be understood as a flexible proposal that is adjusted and reconstructed according to the realities on which it operates. (CERLALC, 2012)

In Colombia, since 2010 to date, the National Reading and Writing Plan has been implemented, through an alliance between the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Culture. Public policy has integrated a variety of activities, related to the offer and access to reading of the population of the territory, standing out: the construction and provision of public libraries, the strengthening of school libraries, projects to promote the communicative skills of groups ethnic, cultural portals with content for early childhood, projects of use and appropriation of ICT, among other series of activities and pedagogical strategies of reading promotion (Mineducación, 2015).

Within the framework of this background, this project proposed as an investigation objective to conduct an evaluation of public policy: Colombia's National Reading and Writing Plan for the 2010-2016 period, based on a human capabilities and development approach, contrasting the design and implementation of the initiative and its effects on the beneficiary population.

Taking into account that the emphasis of the evaluation is given by the normative framework of the capability approach, the main areas of human development that were mobilized were prioritized in the analysis, based on the design and implementation of the Reading Plan policy. It was first based on the recognition of the sociocultural nature of reading and writing practices rooted in a cultural context, which encourage and enable the development of the capacities of a community.

In this way, the present evaluation raised the following research questions: Is it possible to demonstrate a human development approach in the design of the reading and writing plan policy? What are the main capacities that have been enabled and developed in the beneficiary population with the implementation of the plan? What elements should take into account a policy directed to the promotion of reading and writing, based on the capability approach?

The evaluation of the policy focused on four main aspects, which defined the methodological strategy used. 1. Historical reconstruction of the Plan and its approach to intervention, analyzed from a capability perspective. 2. The main reading and writing trends in the country and the changes in recent years, based on the analysis of the DANE Cultural Consumption Survey (2008-2016 time series) 3. The result of national and international standardized evaluations on reading and writing in the period of time analyzed. 4. Representations and capability development of the beneficiary community, based on the analysis of sociocultural reading and writing practices with case analysis, through the review of field reports of the projects implemented.

The evaluation of the reading plan raised as a central work hypothesis that the generation of a culture of reading and writing contributes to the consolidation of spaces of social participation, social and economic development and the responsible exercise of the political and social rights of citizens of a territory. In this way, the positioning and strengthening of reading plans within the government agendas is decisive for the development of capacities of the participating population.

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