Essay competition dedicated to International Literacy Day 2021

8 September 2021

Participate in an essay competition by UNESCO Almaty dedicated to International Literacy Day 2021 and win a prize!


Background information
International Literacy Day (ILD) 2021 will be celebrated under the theme Literacy and digital skills during COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 crisis has disrupted the learning of children, young people and adults at an unprecedented scale. It has also magnified the pre-existing inequalities in access to meaningful literacy learning opportunities, numerous literacy programmes have been forced to halt their usual modes of operation.

Even in the times of global crisis, efforts have been made to find alternative ways to ensure the continuity of learning, including distance learning, often in combination with in-person learning. Access to literacy learning opportunities, however, has not been evenly distributed. The rapid shift to distance learning also highlighted the persistent digital divide, thus many students have problems the Internet connection, do not have the necessary equipment (computer, laptop, tablet) and not proficient in using technology. In addition, access to electricity is limited in some regions, which also hinders distance learning.

The pandemic, however, was a reminder of the critical importance of literacy. Beyond its importance as part of the right to education, literacy empowers individuals and improves their lives by expanding their capabilities to choose a kind of life they can value. It is also a driver for sustainable development. Literacy is an integral part of education and lifelong learning premised on humanism as defined by the Sustainable Development Goal 4. Literacy, therefore, is central to a human-centred recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.

ILD 2021 will explore how literacy can contribute to building a solid foundation for a human-centred recovery, with a special focus on the interplay of literacy and digital skills required by non-literate youth and adults. It will also explore what makes technology-enabled literacy learning inclusive and meaningful to leave no one behind. By doing so, ILD2021 will be an opportunity to reimagine future literacy teaching and learning, within and beyond the context of the pandemic.

Essay themes
Within the competition, participants are invited to write an essay expressing their reasoning and thoughts on one of the proposed questions:
1. What is the digital divide and how can it be prevented?
2. How would you address the digital gap that exists in remote/rural areas?

Evaluation criteria for competition entries
1. Relevant to the proposed themes and questions;
2. Follow the grammar and stylistics of English or Russian language;
3. Essays must be original and unpublished. Plagiarized entries will be rejected;
4. Ability to express own thoughts;
5. Argumentation and critical thinking skills
6. Essay must be up to 1-1.5 pages of typewritten text in English or Russian in Microsoft Word. Font: Times New Roman, size - 14, spacing - 1.5. All margins are 20 mm. At the top left is the surname, name of the author of the essay.

Entries must be received by September 30, 6 p.m. Almaty time

1. Essays may be submitted by citizens of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, who are from 13 to 22 years old
2. Essays may be submitted in English or Russian languages
3. Only one entry per person is accepted
4. Participation in the competition is free of charge, participants incur their own costs
5. UNESCO Almaty reserves the right to exclude participants from the contest, who havent met the participation requirements.
6. Essays must be sent to no later than September 30, 2021, 6 p.m. Almaty time
7. Seven winners of the competition will be selected by the jury and will receive prizes

A pack of branded UNESCO merchandises for 7 winning essays

How to Enter
1. Write an essay expressing your opinion on one of the proposed themes/questions
2. Accept the Competition Rules by filling out all the required fields of the Registration Form
3. Send the essay along with the registration form no later than September 30, 2021, 6 p.m. Almaty time to with the subject line of "International Literacy Day essay competition" by saving and sending your work in the following format: ILD_Essay Contest_Your Surname.

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