UNESCO names winners of Confucius Prize for Literacy


  By Zhao Ruixue in Qufu|(chinadaily.com.cn)|Updated : 2021-09-28

Three educational programs were honored with this year's UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy on Monday in Qufu, Shandong province. All three used digital platforms to promote basic literacy.

  A program called Building and Growing, submitted by an organization in Mexico — Construyendo y Creciendo — was honored for providing inclusive literacy education for construction workers.

  Ain Shams University in Egypt was recognized for organizing online literacy classes for rural people in that country. The program empowered girls and women by building literacy and digital skills, which are very much needed, said Stefania Giannini, assistant director-general for education at UNESCO.

  In Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, a program was aimed at people — mostly women working in the city's markets — who had not had the chance to attend school and consequently were hindered in their personal and socioeconomic development. By the end of the course, they had achieved basic functional literacy.

  That program was submitted by the Association of Literacy Teachers Who Use Information and Communications Technology.

  The massive educational disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has increased reliance on technology to enable learning. The three winning programs prove that robust solutions exist, Giannini said.

  "Each of these programs is improving lives, breeding confidence and hope," she said. "They provide rich inspiration for others to adapt the wisdom of Confucius."

A performance at the award ceremony of the UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy on Monday in Qufu, Shandong province. [Photo by Liang Ben/For chinadaily.com.cn]

  Confucius (551-479 BC) was a Chinese educator and philosopher credited as the first to set up a private school to enroll students from different social classes. His thoughts and ideas have had deep influence both in and beyond China.

  The UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy was established in 2005 to recognize the efforts of individuals, governments and NGOs in raising the literacy rate.

  Because of the pandemic, the winners accepted their awards online. The ceremony was held during the 2021 China International Confucius Cultural Festival and the 7th Nishan Forum on World Civilizations, which opened on Monday. More than 172 scholars from 16 countries and regions, along with 38 envoys and officials from 20 countries, attended the event in person or via online platforms.