UNESCO awards the 2021 UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy to the foundation Construyendo y Creciendo
Each year, the UNESCO International Literacy Prizes are focused on a specific theme; this year's theme was “inclusive distance and digital literacy training”.
During the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the foundation established a programme for inclusive distance learning and technology-based literacy training.
Mexico City, Thursday, 28 October 2021. Since its creation in 2006, the foundation Construyendo y Creciendo (Building and Growing) has provided literacy training to more than 27,000 construction workers in 19 states in Mexico. The 2021 UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy was awarded to the foundation for its work, which serves as model of best educational practices in the region. The UNESCO Office in Mexico City presented the Prize to the foundation on Thursday.
Frédéric Vacheron, representative of UNESCO in Mexico, presented the award sent by UNESCO Headquarters in Paris to Roxana Fabris, Chief Executive Officer of Construyendo y Creciendo (CyC), and José Shabot, founder and member of the foundation's Board of Trustees, at a ceremony also attended by Teresa Reyes Sahagún, Director of the National Institute for Adult Education (INEA), and Sebastián Saldaña Villaroel, student at CyC.
“Based on a model of academic and personal development and job training, our programme overcomes the economic, social and psychological barriers to education faced by construction workers. However, the pandemic highlighted an additional barrier, namely, the technological divide affecting the most vulnerable – a challenge we met through a distance education model that draws on our students' main resource: their desire to learn and move forward,” explained Fabris.
Over the past three years, the programme has provided literacy training to some 7,000 workers, including approximately 50% women. Its main purpose is to provide education and job training for construction workers by installing classrooms in their workplaces, however, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Foundation implemented a programme for inclusive distance learning and technology-based literacy training.
“Given its successful outcome, distance education is now a set model at Construyendo y Creciendo, in addition to face-to-face education (...) It was challenging because the provision of educational services was extended to 24 hours a day, which called for creativity in addressing the digital divide affecting students and the lack of Internet connectivity and independent learning skills” said the foundation's Chief Executive Officer.
© Construyendo y Creciendo
The representative of UNESCO in Mexico pointed out that each year the UNESCO International Literacy Prizes are focused on a specific theme; this year's theme was “inclusive distance and digital literacy training”. Vacheron recalled that, in Mexico, 3.7 million people aged 15 years and over cannot read or write, comprising 1.3 million people who speak an indigenous language and 2.3 million people aged over 60 years.
“We are very proud that, among the hundreds of projects submitted from around the world, the international jury selects initiatives carried out in institutions working in their countries to ensure that all people enjoy the right to education, especially those deprived of access to formal education in the early years of their lives” said Frédéric Vacheron.
Graduates of the programme Construyendo y Creciendo
About the UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy
The UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy was established in 2005 by the Executive Board with the support of the Government of the People's Republic of China. It rewards the activities of outstanding individuals, governments and government agencies and organizations endeavouring to promote literacy among adults in rural areas and young people out of school, particularly girls and women, with a special focus on literacy training that involves the use of technology.
UNESCO considers that the promotion of literacy has a multiplier effect, by promoting understanding, creating and communicating in an increasingly digitalized world. It is required for the sustainable development of nations, by enhancing people's participation in the labour market and in the improvement of health and lifestyle, and by contributing to reducing poverty and increasing opportunities for well-being throughout life.
UNESCO endeavours to promote literacy through a “lifelong learning” approach, which forms the basis of Sustainable Development Goal 4 of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.