The COVID-19 crisis has disrupted the learning of children, youth and adults on an unprecedented scale. It also amplified pre-existing inequalities in access to meaningful literacy learning opportunities, disproportionately affecting 773 million illiterate youth and adults. Youth and adult literacy was absent from many initial national response plans, while many literacy programs were forced to stop their usual modes of operation.
Even in times of global crisis, governments and CSR initiatives are struggling to find other ways to ensure the continuity of learning, including distance learning, often in combination with in-person learning. . However, access to literacy opportunities has not been evenly distributed. The rapid shift to distance learning has also highlighted the persistent digital divide in terms of connectivity, infrastructure and the ability to engage with technology, as well as disparities in other services such as access to electricity, which has limited learning options.
Why is literacy important?
The pandemic has served as a reminder of the crucial importance of literacy. Beyond its intrinsic importance as part of the right to education, literacy empowers individuals and improves their lives by expanding their capacities to choose a type of life that they can enjoy. It is also a lever for sustainable development. Literacy is an integral part of humanism-based education and lifelong learning as defined by Sustainable Development Goal 4. Literacy is therefore essential for a people-centered recovery. human after the COVID-19 crisis.
International Literacy Day
Since 1967, International Literacy Day (IWD) celebrations have been held around the world on September 8 every year to remind the public of the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights, and to advance the literacy agenda towards a more literate and sustainable world. company. Despite the progress made, literacy challenges persist with at least 773 million young people and adults now lacking basic literacy skills.
What is International Literacy Day 2021?
International Literacy Day 2021, celebrated today, will explore how literacy can help lay a solid foundation for people-centered recovery, with particular emphasis on the interplay between literacy and digital skills required by illiterate youth and adults. It will also explore what makes technology-based literacy learning inclusive and meaningful to leave no one behind. In doing so, ILD2021 will provide an opportunity to reimagine future literacy teaching and learning, in and beyond the context of the pandemic.
Main CSR initiatives to improve literacy
The corporate world is making progress in this regard. Examples of multi-stakeholder partnerships include telecommunications companies ensuring the provision of zero-rated internet access and access to online resources and platforms, and partnerships involving adult learning authorities and local universities sharing content. free online. It is also important to foster digital citizenship and reaffirm education as a public good.
Making inclusive technology-based literacy programs accessible requires efforts inside and outside the education sector given the cross-sectoral roots of educational disadvantage and marginalization faced by youth and adults. illiterate. This includes technology-based online / offline learning, facilitating learner connectivity and using blended distance learning strategies, such as TV, radio and telephone, handout distribution print and online learning. On the occasion of International Literacy Day, we present to you the main CSR initiatives for these purposes.
Embassy and room to read India
Reading room India’s literacy program aims to develop both literacy skills and reading habits among schoolchildren. Embassy partnered with Room to Read to develop “Co-scolastics – setting up a learning environment – Libraries” with the project – Improving literacy in primary schools. The objectives of the project are access to children’s books that could improve reading habits, providing a child-friendly literary environment, professional development of teachers and principals to improve the library curriculum and the curriculum taught in the ‘school.
Mphasis has worked actively to improve children’s literacy levels with initiatives such as Akanksha and Pratham Education Foundation. The partnership with the Akanksha Foundation aims to impart critical thinking, creativity and communication skills to children in low-income communities. The association with Pratham helps young people and students over the age of 10 to think critically, logically understand real world problems and solve them using computational thinking.
Mphasis created the F1 Foundation which works for socially excluded and economically disadvantaged groups through disruptive and technological solutions in the fields of education, livelihoods and education. The company has also aimed to improve higher education with initiatives at stellar universities such as Ashoka University, Plaksha University and IIM-B. They have set up research facilities, scholarships and built an accessible and inclusive infrastructure in Plaksha.
Mphasis in collaboration with the International Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore launched the Center of Excellence for Cognitive Computing, a center of excellence that aims to build a research center solving the challenges of education, accessibility and business.
Adult Literacy Program by TCS
In order to address the low literacy rate in India, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) designed the Adult Literacy Program (ALP) in 2000, to increase government efforts to improve adult literacy. ALP aims to promote and strengthen adult education, especially for women, and to extend educational options to adults who have lost the opportunity to access formal education or have passed school age.
The award-winning program runs on Tata’s Computer-Based Functional Literacy (CBFL) software, which uses a combination of methods to teach an illiterate person to read in a short period of time and uses words commonly used by the learner’s mother. tongue. ALP aims to help learners achieve functional literacy in 50 to 55 hours. To implement the program, TCS enters into an agreement with local NGOs and provides financial support to help conduct these courses. The technology and consulting company also works closely with government agencies, prison authorities and academic institutions to implement the program in local languages.
It is not only the elements of the CBFL program that are unique, but also the thinking behind it. Standard adult literacy projects that teach reading, writing and arithmetic require trained teachers and classrooms, and between six months and two years. Costs and drop-out rates are also often high. BFL, however, combines TCS’s expertise in creating software with exemplary research conducted by the National Literacy Mission Authority (NLMA) to overcome some of these issues. Since the program is multimedia focused, it does not require qualified teachers. The result is a reduction in the cost of eradicating illiteracy.