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August 2007

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UNESCO announces winners of 2007 Literacy Prize

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has recently announced five winners–from China, the United States, Nigeria, Senegal and Tanzania – of 2007’s Literacy Prizes.

The UNESCO honours are awarded yearly to recognise particularly effective efforts made in the fight against illiteracy, one of UNESCO’s priorities, and raise awareness of the work of thousands worldwide promoting the cause of literacy for all. The theme for this 2007’s Prize was “Literacy and Health,” especially literacy pertaining to general health care, nutrition, family and reproductive health and health-related community development. A literacy centre – the Community Education Administration Centre – in Longsheng Ethnic Minority Autonomous County in a remote, rural and mountainous region of China with a high illiteracy rate among women, received the UNES CO International Reading Association Literacy Prize.

Two organizations received the UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prizes, which were established in 1989 by the Government of the Republic of Korea. One honouree is the Tanzanian non-governmental organisation (NGO) the Children’s Book Project, which works to develop a solid reading culture. Through production of books in Kiswahili and the training of teachers, writers, publishers and illustrators, it promotes a reading culture among young people and adults. In 2005, the Government of China established the UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy, and this year’s two recipients are from the US and Nigeria.

Standford University launches m-Learning project in Africa

Standford University has launched a project International Outreach Programme (IOP) changing the way universities think about distance learning. The University has launched the project, the Dunia Moja Project – “one world” in Swahili in collaboration with its three partners universities in Tanzania, Uganda, and South Africa.

The mobile learning project enables scientists and students to access environmental-science course materials and interact with each other using high-tech mobile phones. Both Ericsson and Sony Ericsson are collaborated with Stanford to provide mobile smart phones equipped with video cameras, audio recorders, and Internet capability, as well as technical and other support for the pilot version of the course. Students at Makerere University, Mweka College of African Wildlife Management, University of the Western Cape, and Stanford University use the phones to access the course website, send text messages, and post media to mobile blogs.

Strategy to enhance ICT sector in Jordan

Public and private sector leaders of the ICT industry in Jordan launched a four-year strategy to help revive the sector and enhance its competitiveness.

The National ICT Strategy, the outcome of joint efforts by the Information Technology Association of Jordan (int@j), the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology and the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC), seeks to increase the number of people who use the Internet up to 50 per cent from the current 11 per cent. It also eyes increased employment in the sector to reach 35,000 jobs from 16,000 jobs. In addition, it aims to double the current $1.5 billion revenues by the year 2011. The plan seeks to enhance education, boost investment climate and upskill human resources.

AR Lifelong Learning project

The Lifelong Learning and Training project in Argentina aims at supporting the Government of Argentina to consolidate, strengthen, and increase the coverage of a lifelong learning and competency-based training system for disadvantaged adults 18 years or older with the objectives for those who participate of: (i) enhancing employability and (ii) strengthening career ladder opportunities.

The project has several components whose primary focus is to expand and strengthen competency-based training and certification. This will achieved by establishing in 30 economic sectors, competency-based training and certification systems, through development, validation and registration of occupational norms; training and certification of evaluators; and ensuring the functioning o f qualified third-party assessment centers and certification organizations; aligning the supply of training with the competency-based approach and strengthen professional training institutes; and training, assessing and certifying workers. Another component supported by the project is to develop the workforce skills of disadvantaged workers, this contains the following key elements: making qualifications more transparent and portable through the processes of setting standards by employers and workers, and evaluating and certifying competencies; moving non-formal training to a modular, competency-based, standards-driven system in order to link better training offered and market demand; promoting quality, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness among trainers, trainees and workers through testing, certification and accreditation; and offer “second chances” so that youth and adults can recover from bad starts in learning.

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