United World Schools, a global education NGO based in the UK, have been awarded the UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize for their work in improving literacy rates in remote regions of Myanmar.
The annual Prize ties in with International Literacy Day on 8th September 2020, this year focusing on ‘literacy teaching and learning in the COVID-19 crisis and beyond’.
United World Schools’ innovative programmes target ethnic-minority children who cannot attend government schools as they do not speak the national language, Burmese, in which the curriculum is taught. United World Schools provides primary education to these children by employing and training local teachers who can speak ethnic-minority languages.
The UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize was launched in 1989 and rewards the activities of NGOs who display effective results in contributing to the fight for literacy. The Prize gives special consideration to education programmes that contribute to the creation, development and dissemination of mother-tongue languages in developing countries. United World Schools is the first UK-based organisation to win the award. The Prize consists of a sum of US$20,000, a silver medal and a certificate.
The Prize comes at a crucial time as education providers worldwide grapple with how to continue schooling during the Covid-19 pandemic. United World Schools have been providing low-tech distance education to children in Myanmar while schools have been closed. They are now continuing local-level support to ensure the safe reopening of schools. International Literacy Day 2020 provides an opportunity to reflect on and discuss how innovative teaching can be used in literacy programmes to face the pandemic and beyond.
United World Schools