Laureates of UNESCO Literacy Prizes 2002Paris - UNESCO’s international literacy prizes this year go to projects and programmes in Egypt, Eritrea, Uganda and Pakistan.
An international jury met in Paris from July 1 to 5 to decide the laureates of the International Reading Association Prize, the Noma Prize and the two King Sejong Literacy Prizes. The Malcolm Adiseshiah Prize was not awarded this year. The prizes reward exceptional work in the fight against illiteracy, one of UNESCO’s major concerns, and the innumerable women and men around the world who work hard every day, often anonymously under difficult conditions, to teach people to read and write.
The laureates - chosen from a list of 19 candidates - will receive their prizes in ceremonies in their own countries on International Literacy Day September 8. Because it falls on a Sunday this year, it will be celebrated at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on September 9 and 10. A round-table discussion will be held on the 9th between (2.30 and 7 p.m., in Room IV) and workshops will be held on September 10 and will be followed by a ceremony in the afternoon (Room I).
The US$15,000 International Reading Association Prize (established in 1979 and funded by the Association) has been awarded to the Adult Education Division of the Eritrean Ministry of Education for its dedicated effort over more than a decade, especially during the war years; for taking into account the special needs of all ethnic groups and demobilized soldiers; for its establishment of reading rooms for self-learning; and for its achievement in teaching women to read and write.
An Honourable Mention goes to Canada’s National Adult Literacy Database Inc. for producing high-quality literacy teaching material which can be accessed over the internet.
The US$15,000 Noma Prize (founded in 1980 and financed by the Japanese publisher Kodansha) has been won this year by the Literacy and Adult Basic Education Project in Uganda (LABE). The jury appreciated the programme, which stresses literacy for development and welcomed the recognition it gives to the development of partnerships.
An Honourable Mention was given to Thailand’s Non-Formal Education Elephant Delivery Project to encourage its work in a particularly remote part of the country. It makes use of elephants to carry teaching materials from one place to another and works to involve local communities in literacy teaching.
One of the two $15,000 King Sejong literacy prizes (set up in 1989 and funded by the government of the Republic of Korea) went to the Bunyad Literacy Community Council (BLCC) in Pakistan. Its programme aims to help women and children working in carpet and football making factories to become more independent and to increase their social security protection. The second of the prizes was won by the Egypt-based Regional Centre for Adult Education (ASFEC) for its remarkable work in training literacy teachers. The jury wanted to encourage this example of South-South co-operation, which includes 22 Arab-speaking countries.
Honourable mentions for this prize went to Cartagena Adult Education Association Carmen Conde (Spain), mainly for its work with gypsies, and to the Asia/Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO (ACCU) in Japan for its high-quality teaching materials in English, which are distributed in the region in the appropriate languages. There was also a mention for the Cuban government’s programme, Literacy and Mass Communication Media: An Alternative for Developing Countries. It enables Cubans to share experiences, notably in a project to develop informal education in neighbouring Haiti using radio.