Building peace in the minds of men and women

Winners of the 2018 UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy on study tour in China

08 October 2018

On 25-28 September 2018, this year’s UNESCO Confucius for Literacy Prize winners were invited to Jining City in the Shandong Province of China on a study tour and to attend an award ceremony.

The winners were officially awarded by UNESCO Director General, Audrey Azoulay, at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on 7 September when the International Conference on ‘Literacy and Skills Development’ was held to mark International Literacy Day.

This year the UNESCO Confucius Prizes for Literacy were awarded to:

  • The Literacy Movement Organization from the Islamic Republic of Iran, for its ‘Consolidated teaching of literacy and ICDL (International Computer Driving License) basic computer skills’.
  • The Nigerian Prisons Service from Nigeria, for its ‘National Open University of Nigeria - Nigerian Prisons Study centres and inmates General Education Programme’. 
  • The Foundation Elche Acoge from Spain, for its ‘Spanish as a second language for adult immigrants’.

The Study tour in Qufu included a visit to the Confucian Temple and Mencius Temple, an International Seminar on Literacy and Skills Development, and finally the Award Ceremony and the Confucius Memorial Ceremony.

The International Seminar on Literacy and Skills Development under the framework of Education 2030 was organized by the Jining Education Bureau and UNESCO International Research and Training Centre for Rural Education. It was sponsored by the Chinese National Commission for UNESCO and the Jining People’s Government.

UNESCO was represented by Mr. Robert Parua, Education Programme Specialist from the UNESCO Beijing Office. The three winning programmes were represented by: Dr Ali Bagherzadeh, Vice-Minister of Education and Head of Literacy Movement Organization; Mr Mostafa Hasannejad, Consultant of International Affairs at the Literacy Movement Organization (Iran); Mr Suraj Olarinde, Assistant Controller-General of the Nigerian Prisons Service (Nigeria) and Ms Olga Regalado Vaillo, Coordinator at the Foundation Elche Acoge (Spain).

Mr Suraj Olarinde, Assistant Controller-General of the Nigerian Prisons Service in Nigeria, said:

“For us in the Nigerian Prisons Service, the Study Tour showed that we are on course with respect to Prisoners’ Education Program. The next step for us should be an enhancement of the collaboration with the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) to establish Study Centres in more Prisons so as to avail a vast majority of our prisoners of opportunities to access formal education.”

During the three day-tour, Ms Olga Regalado Vaillo, Coordinator at the Foundation Elche Acoge, in Spain, stated: “This study tour to the home of Confucius mean to me an immersion in their knowledge and in the importance of education. On both a professional and personal level it has been a very rewarding and emotional experience, full of moments of learning and improvement. As a professional, being able to learn from and talk to other laureates and their programs has been great. In addition, the opportunity to share moments with officials from UNESCO, the provincial government of Shandong and the city of Jining and to enjoy their presentations at the seminar fills me with ideas and encourages me to continue working in the field of literacy. ”

Finally, the representatives of the Literacy Movement Organization stated: “The recommendations of Confucius are the main principals of the developments of the People’s Republic of China. Visiting the hometown of this great thinker can be inspiring for everyone to implement the moral, social and cultural recommendations of this thinker.”

This year’s UNESCO International Literacy Prizes focusing on ‘literacy and skills development’ were awarded to laureates from Afghanistan, Islamic Republic of Iran, Nigeria, Spain and Uruguay on the occasion of International Literacy Day, which is celebrated every year on the 8 September.