Iran wins UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy

September 8, 2018

TEHRAN — The Literacy Movement Organization of Iran is awarded the 2018 UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy for its program ‘Consolidated teaching of literacy and ICDL basic computer skills’.

The UNESCO International Literacy Day conference took place on September 7, held a day ahead of the actual International Literacy Day, at Paris Headquarters and explored the theme of integrated approaches to literacy and skills development with approximately 200 participants from all over the world. 

Over the conference this year's prizes went to projects advancing literacy and skills development from Iran, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Spain and Uruguay. Each of the five prizewinners received a medal, a diploma and $20,000.

UNESCO International Literacy Prizes

Today, at least 750 million young people and adults still lack basic literacy skills. Two-thirds of them are women and 102 million of them are youth aged 15 to 24. At the same time, many of the 192 million unemployed young people and adults worldwide are unable to achieve decent livelihoods due to, among others, the lack of foundational skills, including literacy, and failing to meet the skill demands of the rapidly changing labor market. 

According to the UNESCO official website UNESCO International Literacy Prizes have rewarded excellence and innovation in the field of literacy since 1967. So far over 485 projects and programs undertaken by governments, non-governmental organizations and individuals around the world have been recognized. 

UNESCO aims to support effective literacy practices and encourages the promotion of dynamic literate societies by the means of these prestigious Prizes. This year’ theme focused on literacy and skills development.

UNESCO International Literacy Prizes include the UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize (2 awards) and the UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy (3 awards).

UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize was established in 1989, with the support of the Government of the Republic of Korea. It gives special consideration to the development and use of mother-tongue literacy education and training.

The UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy was also established in 2005, with the support of the Government of the People’s Republic of China. It gives special consideration to literacy amongst adults in rural areas and out-of-school youth, particularly girls and women.

Aid Afghanistan for Education (AAE) and the Ministry of Education and Culture in Uruguay were awarded the 2018 UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize. 

In addition to Iran, the Nigerian Prisons Service, and the Foundation Elche Acoge of Spain won the UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy. 

Iran’s Literacy Movement Organization 

Established in 1979, the Organization is the main and largest literacy organization in the country with more than 50,000 instructors and 6,000 administrators.

It has branches located in more than 300 villages in 28 provinces. The Organization is officially tasked with eradicating illiteracy and educating illiterate youth and adults.

It actively promotes literacy and continuing education through a range of programs for children and adults particularly targeting women and girls in rural areas and from minority tribes.

Iran’s prize winner program aims to combine basic literacy skills with International Computer Driving License (ICDL) skills. It combines computer courses, which include English language and computer skills training, and literacy courses, which include Persian literature, mathematics, Islamic teachings, culture and sciences.

In 2017, more than 4,200 girls benefited from the program and it is hoped to continue its implementation until 2021.

MQ/MG

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