Volume 83, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
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Almost 50% of the adults in Timor-Leste are illiterate. With Portuguese and Tetum as official languages, fifteen regional languages recognized, and English and Bahasa Indonesia accepted as working languages, adult literacy education takes place in a multilingual context. Most adult learners are multilingual and learn to read and write in a second language. The NWO-WOTRO funded research project 'Becoming a Nation of Readers' investigates adult literacy in Timor-Leste. One study focuses on acquisition and use of literacy in the two official languages. This paper presents first results: a description of currendy provided literacy programmes (different in method, content and length), a profile of teachers (relatively young, low educated, multilingual), participants (two-thirds women, two-thirds without school experience) and learning circumstances (poor). Analysis of aspects of participants' reading and writing ability shows that school experience, age and being able to speak Tetum are important factors, as is teachers' work experience in the adult literacy sector.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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