Report about the World Literacy Summit, Oxford, in April 2020
by Dorothee Gaile, Co-Chair of Thematic Working Group on Adolescent & Disciplinary Literacy in the ELINET Association)
Latest news: Literacy is your topic? You can gain free unlimited access to the recorded content, keynote and over 100 expert presentations of the World Literacy Summit 2020 on a “Netflix”-style platform: WLSOnline will be open for registration on July 1, 2020. This platform will offer vital resources for all educators who are looking for new ways to engage their remote students. For registration and update on WLSOnline please go to the following website https://www.worldliteracysummit.org/programme
For people who cannot wait for July, at the end of this text, you’ll find some examples of presentations. So, read on. And, see you in July.
‘Reading changes life’– this was the title of the World Literacy Summit (WLS) 2020, scheduled as one of the largest world gatherings of international literacy and education specialists from 85 countries (more than two thirds of the world). The WLS 2020 was the fourth Summit that is hosted biannually by the World Literacy Foundation, a leading international charity in the literacy sector committed to building a literate world.
Originally planned as a four-day global event to be held at Oxford University (UK) from April 5-8, 2020, this year’s summit was moved to a mere online event in the unprecedented times of travel bans and closed borders due to CoVID 19. Reimagining the conference in only a few days meant a challenge for both organisers and presenters: To perform the WLS20 online, the speakers were invited to participate through pre-recorded video/voice content and live streaming. In this reimagined digital event attendees were connected with global literacy leaders and change makers through an online video platform with a modified time schedule from April 5-20.
The conference in the form of an Online Experience combined live sessions and presentations in the form of a digital video library. In the focus of this conference were India, Africa, South Asia and Latin America, where many countries suffer not only from a literacy but from a wider education crisis.
Here is a look at the agenda:
- In a LIVE video presentation with the title “Tech for good: Future of Learning” leaders in the EdTech space explored the role of technology on literacy and education. This event brought together big and small solutions, founders, social enterprises, non-profits, innovators.
- Panel discussions with 4-5 members were held on the following issues:
- Digital Literacy : How is technology shaping traditional literacy and which impact does digital literacy have on fake news and misinformation?
- Impacting lives with digital literacy: Which impact can tools of digital literacy and educational technology have on learners’ motivation and engagement in education today?
- Leading literacy leaders in organisation: What challenges do literacy leaders currently face, and what does the future hold for literacy organisations?
- International Development: Which is the international focus and which are the key messages surrounding girl’s education, children out of school, and sustainable educational development?
- Funding: Why should literacy be funded under the aspect of its contribution to the promotion of equal opportunities in life?
- A Digital Video Library offered more than 100 presentations of researchers, academics, literacy leaders, entrepreneurs, and non-profit organisations in the following sections:
- Adult Literacy: Global initiatives focused on adults who did not gain literacy in their youth
- Girls’ Education: Approaches aiming at empowering girls, approaches to improving girls’ literacy learning and life opportunities
- Early Childhood: Literacy as part of education and well-being of a child from day one on
- First Nation: Projects around the world striving to reach first nation groups to provide them with foundations for education
- Functional Literacy: Aspects of what it means to be functionally literate in today’s world
- Literacy Programs and Goals: An array of worldwide programs that changemakers have set out to promote inclusiveness for kids and youth
- Literacy and Technology: The development of EdTech space as a collision between the worlds of literacy and technology
- Sustainable Development: What it takes to make literacy projects, especially those in remote rural areas of the world, sustainable
- Research and Evaluation: Initiatives undertaken by academics and researchers in literacy and education “striving to make advancements for the greater global good” (WLS homepage). The Presentation of ELINET – the European Literacy Policy Network – to be found in this section.
This year’s World Literacy Summit Awards recognized the significant contribution to literacy by
- an organisation: Little free libraries providing 100.000 books sharing boxes in underserved communities worldwide
- an individual: the singer Shakira active for disadvantaged learners and girls’ education
- a country: the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan for successfully promoting “Literacy at large, and reading fluency, in specific, learning unlocking both personal and national prosperity.”
The Albert Schweitzer Award recognized Ashta No Kai (ANK), a non-profit organization founded by Ms Armene Modi to promote literacy and empowerment for rural women and girls in ten villages in Shirur County of Pune District, Maharashtra, India.
Some examples of presentations at the conference.
We cannot link you to the conference site yet, but we cam lead you to the websites of the presenters.
Presentation of Dorothee Gaile, Elinet Board Member, and writer of this report on Elinet, European Literacy Policy Network. You can look and/of download her presentation here in PDF.
Presentation Transforming Lives: from Literacy for Adult Women to Adolescent Girls‘ Education in Rural India by Armene Modi, university teacher, founder of the non-profit organization Ashta No Kai ( ‚for a better future‘) that has been promoting literacy and empowerment for rural girls and women in India since 1991. Modi won the prestigious Albert Schweitzer Award at the World Literacy Summit 2020. http://www.ashtanokai.org
Presentation on The Power of Story‘ by David Kirkpatrick, President of Paramount Pictures, Production Chief of Walt Disney Studios, Teacher, co-founder of MIT Centre for Future Storytelling .
Kirkpatrick emphasizes that the world needs unifying myths for children worldwide. Children, especially the young ones, need to read about positive models of commonality and humanness that spans the whole globe.
Therefore reading is so vital, as Kirkpatrick demonstrates with examples from historic and contemporary myths . He highlights the role of technology in storytelling that opens up more appealing new narrative multimedia formats and new levels of creativity. https://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/18/movies/18story.html
Presentation: I am a Philantropist, Child Activist, Inspirational Speaker, A Guitarist and a Ballerina by Stacey Fru, an award-winning teenager, author and literacy activist from South Africa. She became engaged in literacy promotion when she read a statistic that 78% of grade 4 learners in her country can’ t read in any of the 12 national languages. Having learned from her own family history, with a grandmother who could not even write her own name, and yet her mother pursuing a university career, Stacey inspiringly emphasizes the vital importance of literacy for personal and social growth. www.staceyfru.co.za
Presentation on Sun Books by Andrew Key, CEO and founder of Sun Books, a charitable not-for-profit organisation, located in Africa and South America, part of the World Literacy AssociationThe free digital content of Sun Books (E-books and educational material with authentic local content) can be accessed using a solar powered tablet or smartphone without internet or electricity. Its use in remote rural areas like those in sub-Saharan Africa pursues ‚a more equitable world in which children are empowered through education. sunbooks.org