Global scale-up project funded by IFAP
UNESCO is strongly advocating the building of knowledge societies where the power of information and communication help people access the knowledge they need to improve their daily lives and achieve their full potential.
In this context, information literacy has become crucially important, as a mean to empower people in all walks of life to seek, evaluate, use and create information effectively to achieve their personal, social, occupational and educational goals.
In September 2007, the Bureau of the Intergovernmental Council for the Information for All Programme (IFAP) decided to fund a global scale-up project on information literacy and agreed on a series of regional training-the-trainers workshops in information literacy.
The project foresees to organize a series of seven to twelve training-the-trainers workshops in information literacy, to be held from 2008 to 2009 in several institutions of higher education covering all regions of the world. The central purpose of the proposed workshop series is to allow "information literacy expert presenters" to instruct 25-50 "trainer-participants" at each workshop in the best available pedagogies for teaching information literacy.
Upon completion of the training, the "graduated" trainer-participants would then be expected, in turn, to offer their educational expertise to train all sectors of society in the countries in their respective regions, explaining why and how applying good information literacy practices can help individuals to cope more efficiently and effectively with their personal, family and community challenges - whether social, economic or political.
A key motive in funding this project is to sustain and accelerate the momentum lead by UNESCO and IFAP in the last few years, and joined by other international and national organizations, such as the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), the National Forum on Information Literacy (NFIL) and the National Commission on Library and Information Science (NCLIS), to spread understanding of the information literacy paradigm much more widely and foster the development of information literate people, not only in the education and library sectors but in all sectors of societies. The experts on information literacy acknowledged that although there had been in the 1995-2007 period quite a number of international, regional, sub-regional and country-based expert meetings to interchange experiences, practices and ideas, there remained a critical need to greatly increase the pool of qualified information literacy instructors to provide training to all citizens in all countries.
In the proposal, the special target groups that would be given information literacy training ultimately by the trainees successfully completing the workshops are women; pre-school children and youth, including those out-of-school; unemployed and under-employed youths and adults; migrant and refugee populations, especially those stressed by warfare, political and social unrest, or natural disasters; sick or disabled persons; senior citizens; religious and ethnic minorities living in majority cultures; and many other disadvantaged groups.
Many host institutions stepped forward to volunteer to host the workshops, and help promote and advertise them. They were asked to take the lead in (1) identifying, recruiting and selecting the workshop trainer-participants, (2) identify expert presenters who would provide the expert training, and (3) handle the necessary administrative and logistical details. A coordinator at each institution was selected to provide a focal point for planning, implementing and managing the workshop. As of this writing, the host institutions are in the process of planning and implementing their workshops.