By: CECILIA SANDELL, World Literacy Foundation’s UK Office Coordinator
International Literacy Day is celebrated on September 8, whilst there are much excitement and celebration, this date also serves as a stark reminder of some realities of literacy in the world. At least 750 million people still lack basic literacy skills, two-thirds of the people concerned are women and 102 millions of them are youth aged 15 to 24. At the same time, many of the 192 million unemployed worldwide are unable to find a decent livelihood due to the lack of foundational skills, including literacy, and failing to meet the skill demands of the rapidly changing labor market.
This year, World Literacy Foundation joined celebrations at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, where Delegates, activists, teachers, NGOs and volunteers from around the globe met to discuss present challenges and celebrate achievements in the world of literacy. The 2018 conference´s theme was ‘Literacy and Skills Development´, and it sought to identify effective and combined approaches to literacy learning and skills development, in order to help the most vulnerable populations accessing to decent work opportunities and improved lives.
One of the most remarkable conference sessions was ´Exploring Implications of Digital Technology for Integrated Approaches´. With speakers such as Ms. Luisa Gockel of Pearson, and Mr. Mark West of UNESCO, who highlighted how billions of new technology users are confronted with new challenges regarding gender, language, and education in the internet age.
As we all know, literacy and education play an essential role in a globalized and digitalized world. Therefore, UNESCO and Pearson for digital literacy launched its “Guidelines for Designing Inclusive Digital Solutions and Developing Digital Skills”. These guidelines target to prevent marginalization not only in the physical world but in digital area as well.
All the ideas and issues aroused in the conference are significant to World Literacy Foundation projects. Especially they are important to our Sun Books Initiative, where we tackle the combined issue of increasing literacy whilst providing the innovative technological means by which to do so. Our aim is to supply tablets powered by sustainable resources to the world’s poorest children in order to further their education. We believe every child should be able to get a quality education and poverty does not have to define their future.