UNESCO has selected six outstanding literacy programmes from Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Guatemala, India, Mexico and South Africa as winners of its International Literacy Prizes, awarded on the occasion of International Literacy Day (8 September).
During the COVID crisis, these programmes continued to help students learn to read and write through accessible technologies.
At least 773 million youth and adults globally still cannot read and write, and 250 million children are failing to acquire basic literacy skills. There are more non-literate women than men, and women are also increasingly left behind in the digital environment.
This situation is expected to worsen, as COVID-19 school disruptions have caused learning losses. 23.8 million additional children and youth worldwide may drop out or not have access to school in 2021 due to the pandemic’s economic impact alone.
The awards were presented during a virtual International Conference entitled “Literacy for a human-centred recovery: Narrowing the digital divide,” which UNESCO will host on 8 and 9 September.
The online event brought together representatives of governments, development partners, experts and educators to explore how literacy can contribute to building a solid foundation for a human-centred recovery, with a special focus on the interrelation between literacy and the digital skills that half of the world’s population still lacks.