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Mellon Fellow (1 September 1999 - 31 January 2000)
During my one-term stay at NIAS I originally intended to write a book in Czech within the field of sociology of education with a tentative title Social Environment of School and Education in Sociological Perspective. During the first month I wrote an introductory chapter which I transformed into a paper entitled Sociology of Education: contribution to defining its object and methodology and sent it to Prague for publication in Sociologický èasopis [Sociological Review]. Then I realised that the scope of my original intentions was too broad. I decided therefore to drastically narrow the topic of my research and focus on a particular theme - functional literacy.
After four months of rather hectic work I completed my task and finished the manuscript entitled Gramotnost: nový pohled na staré téma [Literacy: An Old Topic in New Perspective]. It has nine chapters in which I deal, firstly, with the development of the general concept of literacy and illiteracy and present the latest world wide statistics on the scope and magnitude of illiteracy in various countries. Then I describe the concept of functional literacy and place it within the context of Czech educational environment. In the final chapters I discuss my results within the context of pedagogical theory.By writing on functional literacy I made an important contribution, I believe, to Czech pedagogy's state of knowledge of one of the important problems that are being discussed world wide nowadays. My manuscript, after a review process, will be published as a book and as such it will serve as one of the basic reading materials for my course on sociology of education.
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