The second World Literacy Summit was held in Oxford in April, 2014. The Summit aims to build awareness of the global literacy crisis and provide opportunities for participants to develop strategic plans, exchange information, find solutions and build partnerships to improve literacy standards worldwide. As mediascape partners, CORE Education provided digital media services at the Summit, and Michael and I were fortunate to spend a week in Oxford capturing delegates’ contributions in the form of interviews, keynotes, panel discussions and presentations.
The overarching Summit theme was Literacies: the Power to Change — the role of both new and traditional literacy tools and techniques in the worldwide fight to eradicate illiteracy.
Issues and underlying theme
Delegates at the Summit discussed key issues impacting literacy around the world, and analysed the latest literacy delivery methods and teaching approaches, with the goal of increasing awareness of the global literacy crisis, and creating opportunities for collaboration in support of literacy development.
An underpinning theme was the widening of the notion of literacy from the classic reading and writing to include multi-literacies — health, financial, and emotional, for example. At one of the panel sessions, speakers spoke to these new literacies, outlining the challenges and possible areas for action. For example, by 2015 more than 50% of the total population in extreme poverty will reside in places affected by conflict and chronic violence. People in these countries could benefit from greater levels of emotional literacy including an ability to recognise, understand, and appropriately express their emotions to assist them to contribute to more peaceful and stable societies.
Signing of the 2014 Oxford Declaration
The concluding act of the Summit was the signing of the 2014 Oxford Declaration document, which outlines the key action points delegates believe are required to improve global literacy standards. Delegates had contributed to the content of the declaration in panels and discussion groups throughout the conference, and the document was signed by all of those attending the final keynote.
Video interviews with key delegates
There were over 70 international speakers at the Summit, and a key element in the dissemination of knowledge and experience from the Summit will be the video record. Michael Lintott and I were able to interview many delegates, including Dr Jean-Pierre Ezin, the Commissioner for Education, Science and Culture for the Economic Community of West African States, Dr Temechegn Engida, the Programme Officer for ICT use in Education at the UNESCO International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa, and Ms Farida Lambay, the Founder Trustee and Executive Secretary of Pratham Council for Vulnerable Children in India.
Dr Jean-Pierre Ezin, the Commissioner for Education, Science and Culture for the Economic Community of west African States,
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