“International Conference on Girls’ and Women’s Literacy and Education: Foundations for Sustainable Development” is being organized by the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in joint collaboration with UNESCO and the UN Secretary General’s Global Education First Initiative (GEFI) to mark the International Literacy Day 2014(ILD 2014). Every year, UNESCO observes the International Literacy Day on 08 September and presents UNESCO Literacy Awards in Paris. However, as a Champion Country for GEFI, this year Bangladesh proposed to host a one-day International Conference in Bangladesh this year on the occasion of ILD 2014. The Conference and the hosting of the International Literacy awards in Dhaka in DG UNESCO’s presence, will reaffirm the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s commitment to Girls’ and Women’s Literacy and Education and Empowerment of Women and her advocacy role as GEFI Champion Head of Government.
From the Government of Bangladesh, the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Education are jointly organizing the event on behalf of the Government of Bangladesh.
Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the one day International conference at 10 am on 08 September and will give away the UNESCO literacy awards 2014 along with DG UNESCO. Hon’ble Ministers for Primary and Mass Education, Minister for Education and the Hon’ble Foreign Minister for Foreign Affairs will be present at the Inauguration ceremony.
Around 60 delegates including INGOs from 27 countries will participate in the one day Conference. The Minister Level delegates are as follows: Ms. Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO, H.E. Mr. Espinosa, Education Minister of Ecuador, Hon. Bandula Gunawardhana (MP), Education Minister of Sri Lanka, and H.E. Lyonpo Mingbo Dukpa, Education Minister of Bhutan, Mr. Mohammad Azim Karbalyee, Deputy Education Minister of Afghanistan, Mr. Routing DICKO Amadou DIEMDIODA, Deputy Minister of National Education Alphabetization of Burkina Faso. Apart from Ministers senior officials, academicians and literary experts from Algeria, South Africa, USA, Egypt, Spain, France, India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Philippines, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Kenya, ROK, Bhutan, Ecuador, Hong Kong, Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Thailand, Myanmar, Tanzania, Uganda are all confirmed participation.
Building on the successful case of Bangladesh and UNESCO’s worldwide experience, the event will seek to make the case for comprehensive/holistic approaches to girls’ education and women’s literacy and their centrality to sustainable development.
The expected outcome of the Conference will be a statement reflecting the collective decision to address key challenges of girls’ education and women’s literacy through a multi-pronged, collaborative, synergistic action at global, regional, national and community levels.
The UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize was established in 1989, thanks to the generosity of the Government of the Republic of Korea, in honour of the outstanding contribution made to literacy more than 500 years ago by King Sejong (1397-1450 A.C.), through the creation of the ‘Hangul’ alphabet. The King Sejong Literacy Prize gives special consideration to the development and use of mother-tongue literacy education and training. Two prizes are awarded every year, and each winner receives $20,000, a medal and a diploma.
The UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy was established in 2005 thanks to the generosity of the Government of the People’s Republic of China in honour of the great Chinese scholar Confucius. The Confucius Prize for Literacy gives special consideration to literacy for people in rural areas and out-of-school youth, particularly girls and women. Three prizes are awarded every year, and each winner receives $20,000, a medal and a diploma.
In 2014 UNESCO will award 7 persons and Institution worldwide for contribution to literacy and education. They were nominated earlier by UNESCO Jury Board as per submission of nominations for 2014. Bangladesh did not submit any nomination for 2014.
UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize
President, Association for the Promotion of Non-Formal Education of Burkina Faso
UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy
President, Algerian Association of Alphabetization (IQRRA), Algeria.
Director of the Permanent Education Center Poligono Sur Seville, Spain.
iii. Ms Isabel Dealbert
Deputy Director of the Permanent Education Center Poligono Sur Seville,Spain
Chief Executive Officer, Molteno Institute for Language and Literacy and International Literacy Institute, South Africa.
Director, Molteno Institute for Language and Literacy and International Literacy Institute.
There will be a draft Dhaka Declaration to be adopted at the end of the conference emphasizing girls education to be considered as a pillar of sustainable development and the post-2015 Development Agenda, which is supposed to be carried over to the World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development in Nagoya, Japan 10-12 November, and subsequent UNESCO meetings to uphold the commitment for female education and empowerment. This Conference will contribute to the global movement for education by sharing its successful policies and practices in promoting girls’ and women’s literacy and education.
Reflecting the firm commitment of the Government since the country’s independence, Bangladesh has made remarkable strides in education and literacy, especially in the areas of girls’ and women’s literacy and education. Gender parity has improved in both primary and secondary education as well as in youth and adult literacy. While the primary school net enrolment ratio increased from 60.5% in 1990 to 98.7% in 2011, the primary school net enrolment ratio for girls increased from 50.8% in 1990 to 99.4% in 2011. The adult literacy rate increased from 35.3% in 1991 to 57.7% in 2011, with that for women going up from 25.8% to 53.4%.
Proposed to be organized on the occasion of the International Literacy Day, this event will help refocus world attention to the global challenges of girls’ and women’s literacy and education as critical enabling factors for sustainable development. The outcomes of the Conference are expected to feed into the discussions on post-2015 developmental agenda as well as provide an opportunity for multiple stakeholders to reflect on innovative strategies for expanding good quality learning opportunities for girls and women. It will be an opportunity to showcase Bangladesh’s holistic approach to girls’ education and its recent efforts to enhance non-formal education for out-of-school children and adolescents as well as adult illiterate populations, especially women. Examples of effective laws, policies, financing and innovations together with enabling factors for the success, challenges and lessons learnt will be presented, offering the opportunity for information exchange and charting the way forward.
Building on the successful case of Bangladesh and UNESCO’s worldwide experience, the event will seek to make the case for comprehensive/holistic approaches to girls’ and women’s literacy and education and their centrality to sustainable development. The expected outcome of the Conference will be a statement reflecting the collective resolve to address key challenges and the unfinished literacy and education agenda, especially for girls and women, through a multi-pronged, collaborative, synergistic action at global, regional, national and community levels.