Press release

2022 UNESCO International Literacy Prizes reward 6 initiatives promoting inclusion

On the occasion of International Literacy Day (8 September), UNESCO has selected six outstanding literacy programmes from Brazil, India, Malaysia, South Africa, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom as laureates of its International Literacy Prizes, based on the recommendations of an international jury.
2022 UNESCO International Literacy Prize
Literacy is an essential human right. International Literacy Day is an opportunity to assess and accelerate progress in this field. I congratulate the six winners of our prizes: they are examples of successful actions, sources of inspiration that UNESCO will promote on a large scale.
UNESCO Director-General
Audrey Azoulay UNESCO Director-General

The awards will be presented during an international conference in Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire), on 8 and 9 September 2022, under the theme “Transforming literacy learning spaces”. A special session focusing on efforts that transform literacy learning spaces will be held with the laureates on 9 September from 2.40pm to 3.35pm CET. 

UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize

The UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize, sponsored by the Government of the Republic of Korea, recognizes contributions to mother language-based literacy development. It will be awarded to:

  • ‘Native Scientist’ programme of Native Scientist, United Kingdom. ‘Native Scientist’ is a non-profit organisation working to foster scientific literacy and language development among marginalized children and adolescents by creating meaningful connections between students and scientists across Europe. The programme connects migrant children with international professionals experienced on Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM), who share a common cultural heritage and the same native language as the learners.
  • ‘Mother Tongue Based Multilingual Education’ programme of Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences, India. The programme aims to tackle the challenges of poor retention of indigenous students in elementary schools due to classroom language barriers and teachers' incapacity to deal with multilingual and multicultural classrooms effectively. The programme is in a hybrid format with face-to-face and distance learning modules using low-tech solutions such as television, radio, and text messaging. 
  • ‘Madrasa Arabic lessons’ programme of Madrasa, United Arab EmiratesMadrasa is a leading e-learning platform launched in 2018 to respond to the need to develop and enrich Arabic educational content and make it accessible to students. The ‘Madrasa Arabic lessons’ programme aims to provide basic literacy skills in the Arabic language by collaborating with a committee of experts and transforming traditional learning methods into an interactive and engaging format.

Each of the three UNESCO King Sejong laureates will receive a medal, a diploma and an endowment of US$ 20.000.

UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy

The UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy, sponsored by the Government of the People’s Republic of China, recognizes contributions to functional literacy leveraging technological environments in support of adults in rural areas and out-of-school youth. It will be awarded to:

  • ‘Accessible Literature’ (Literatura Acessível) programme of Institute Include, Brazil. Institute Include aims to promote inclusion and social participation of people with disabilities through education, sport, and culture. The programme is an initiative that produces, reproduces and launches books in multiple formats, which includes simple reading in braille, Libras (Brazilian sign language), audio description, and pictograms. The programme has enrolled 2,022 learners, 55% of whom are girls and women.
  • ‘People Accessible Network for Digital Empowerment and Inclusivity (PANDei)’ programme of Sarawak State Library, Malaysia. With local government support, the programme aims to help build a comprehensive support network, empowering local communities’ digital competencies and skills for building a digital-ready community. From 2018 to 2022, 81,057 learners benefitted from the programme, which also helped train 54 facilitators and teachers through two Train of Trainer (ToT) activities.
  • 'School Readiness through Community Participation' programme of The Molteno Institute for Language and Literacy, South Africa. The programme aims to equip children, schools and communities to prepare Grade R (Reception Year) learners for formal schooling. Furthermore, the programme enables school readiness by involving local communities and parents through local languages in the context of underserved school communities of rural South Africa.

Each of the three UNESCO Confucius laureates will receive a medal, a diploma and an endowment of US$ 30.000.

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