UNESCO is currently inviting registration and presentation proposals for Mobile Learning Week 2015 (MLW 2015). Held annually, Mobile Learning Week is UNESCO’s flagship conference about how newly affordable technologies can expand access to education and improve the quality of learning opportunities.
UNESCO is pleased to announce MLW 2015 will be organized in partnership with UN Women. As the lead UN agency for women’s issues, UN Women will further expand the prestige and impact of an already important event.
The theme of MLW 2015 is leveraging technology to empower women and girls. It will be held at UNESCO Headquarters from: 23-27 February 2015 in Paris, France.
The event aims to show how technology – whether basic mobile handsets or powerful tablet computers – helps open doors to educational opportunities and improve gender equality, both in education and beyond.
The week will feature four sub-events:
- Workshops (Monday, 23 Feb.)
- Symposium (Tuesday & Wednesday, 24-25 Feb.)
- Policy Forum (Thursday, 26 Feb.)
- Research Seminar (Friday, 27 Feb.)
The focus on women and girls’ empowerment is crucial because access to high quality education remains deeply inequitable for millions of girls around the world.
The character and magnitude of inequity varies from country to country, but the most serious problems tend to be concentrated in Africa and South Asia. In these regions it is not atypical to find only 7 girls enrolled in school per every 10 boys. The 2013/4 EFA Global Monitoring Report summed up the situation unambiguously: Worldwide ‘girls are more likely to miss out on primary education’ than boys and are afflicted by the ‘most extreme cases of inequality in secondary education’.
These disparities result in disproportional literacy rates for males and females. Globally, two out of every three illiterate adults are women. In a handful of countries the literacy rate for women has yet to exceed 50 percent. There are parallel problems in the youth population: of the 126 million youth who are illiterate, 61 percent are female. Solving the illiteracy crisis has, to a large extent, become synonymous with strengthening learning for women and girls.
Women in developing countries face unique challenges when it comes to using information and Information Communication Technology (ICT) to unlock educational opportunities. Worldwide, men are far more likely than women to use ICT both for learning and for professional purposes. Part of this is a problem of access. In low to middle income countries a woman is 21 percent less likely to own a mobile phone than a man, and the divide is similar for internet access. Nearly 25 per cent fewer women than men have internet connectivity in developing countries and this gap rises to nearly 50 percent in a number of countries.
It is for these reasons that MLW 2015 will explore how mobile technology can be best utilized to improve education and accelerate the learning of women and girls.
Participants from around the world will demonstrate how mobile hardware and digital content can provide a tool for closing the access, knowledge and confidence gaps between males and females.
Please join UNESCO and UN Women in Paris for this important event! Registration is open now and proposal submissions will be accepted until late November 2014.
See the event website for details.