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Access to Education

PEN Argentina run flash-fiction workshops with marginalised young people in Buenos Aires.

PEN’s education policy is guided by the importance of ideas, of literature and of writing – of freedom of expression – in forming healthy individuals and societies. PEN’s goal is to empower communities across all languages and cultures through reading and writing.

Improving the quality of education

PEN is committed to improving the quality of education as a means of individual and societal transformation. PEN recognises that quality education goes beyond reductive approaches to literacy and numeracy and believes in the importance of holistic education grounded in the values of freedom of expression and the promotion of literature. To achieve this goal, PEN Centres around the globe run programmes at the grassroots level which focus on the development of critical thinking, reading and writing skills in children, young people and adults.

PEN Centres’ grassroots, non-formal education programmes include schools and youth clubs , mentoring programmes, creative writing workshops and competitions such as PEN’s New Voices Award to encourage young people to read and write. PEN Centres also run teacher trainings on creative writing and conduct research and advocacy to ensure that national curricula promote reading amongst students and ensure that literature is a core curriculum subject.

Improving access and promoting linguistic rights

In many parts of the world, access to literature, both in traditional and online forms, is limited. PEN is committed to improving community access to literature, in particular in minority and mother-tongue languages, through our library and community access programmes.

The promotion of linguistic rights is a central pillar of PEN’s work. PEN is committed to the respect of all languages, and the protection and promotion of minority languages as elaborated in PEN’s Girona Manifesto.

Our library and community access programmes support engagement with reading and writing across all ages and community groups.

Human rights education

PEN believes that human rights education is fundamental for the creation of equal, inclusive, peaceful and democratic societies. Through our human rights education policy and programming, PEN Centres promote our central principle of freedom of expression.

PEN Centres human rights education programmes include a human rights summer school, free speech education programmes and trainings on human rights and cultural diversity.

You need to write to break boundaries between you and the outside world, and reach places you had never dreamt you would ever go to, through your writing.

Bob Kisiki Poetry facilitator, PEN Uganda Civil Society Project