Connecting the disconnected: UK and Venezuelan ICT experts awarded UNESCO King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa Prize

The winners of the Prize, focused this year on the theme Digital Literacy: Preparing Adult Learners for Lifelong Learning and Flexible Employment, were selected on the recommendation of an international jury.

The National Institute for Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) is the leading non-governmental organization promoting the interests of adult learners in England and Wales. The Jury found that NIACE has developed a national network of 6,000 internet access centres to serve adults in both rural and urban settings, in addition to 194 internet projects for adults in sheltered housing. Close to 3000 E-Guides were trained as tutors to work with adults supported by national and regional networks. NIACE is also considered to provide an exemplary model to other countries looking to help adults achieve digital literacy.

The Infocentro Foundation was selected for its project “Technological Literacy for Older Adults”. The Foundation is a governing body supported by the Venezuela Ministry of Popular Power for Science and Technology, providing free access to ICTs to enable adults and other users in achieving lifelong learning. Through 680 education infocentres established across the country and a high-quality series of modules to enable adult learners to move from basic computer literacy to more advanced ICTs skills. Infocentro Foundation has enabled almost one million individuals, including those with disabilities, to develop technology literacy skills.

The Director-General presented the Prize – a diploma and US$25,000 – to each of the laureates at a ceremony on 12 January, 2011 at UNESCO Headquarters. They were chosen from among forty-nine projects in 34 countries* and one proposed by an Intergovernmental Organization, the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization, SEAMEO.

Prof. Alexander Khoroshilov, IITE UNESCO National Programme Officer, took part in the laureate award ceremony.