Digital Transformations and Innovations

© UNESCO

Information and communication technology (ICT) is fundamentally changing the way people live and work, learn and socialise.

But 758 million adults in the world, including 115 million youth, still lack the basic literacy skills needed to enjoy the benefits of increasingly digitised economies and to participate fully in modern society.

Inclusive digital solutions can help people with low skills and low literacy use technology in a way that supports skills development and, ultimately, advances their livelihoods. Inclusive digital solutions can provide services for health, livelihoods, education, sustainable agriculture, environmental preservation, cultural tourism, urban development, and so on.

The UNESCO-Pearson Initiative for Literacy: Improved Livelihoods in a Digital World releases five batches of case studies featuring digital innovations in support of skills development.

“Any technological revolution leads to new imbalances that we must anticipate” (Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General)

Artificial Intelligence

Rapid technological advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI), as well as other advancing technologies such as robotics, cloud computing and Internet of Things, are transforming disciplines, economies and industries, and challenging ideas about what it means to be human.

AI has enormous potential for social good and promoting the achievement of the SDGs if it develops in a way that benefits humanity, respects global norms and standards, and is anchored in peace and development.

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Digital Inclusion

In a rapidly digitising world, people who cannot read or write face new forms of marginalisation. On top of confronting disadvantages in the physical world, illiterate people—currently 10 percent of the world’s population—have difficulties participating in digital realms and accessing services that can strengthen livelihoods and enlarge learning opportunities.
Yet this exclusion is avoidable. Carefully designed digital solutions can help people—even those with very low literacy levels and limited technology skills—navigate digital spaces and benefit from relevant applications, such as those targeting farmers or connecting users to health services.

UNESCO has partnered with Pearson and its Project Literacy programme to develop a set of guidelines that will help today’s technology pioneers build more inclusive digital solutions. These solutions aim to help people with emerging literacy skills discover life-changing portals to information, social services and community engagement, while simultaneously providing reason and means to improve foundational literacy skills.
Establishing digital entry points for people with limited literacy and limited digital skills creates a virtuous cycle that accelerates learning and development, empowering individuals and strengthening communities.

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