The “Association of Literacy Teachers Using Information and Communication Technologies (GA-TIC)” of Côte d’Ivoire is one of the laureates of the UNESCO-Confucius Prize for Literacy 2021 for its program. “Functional literacy of traders in Abidjan through the use of ICT”.
GA-TIC is a non-governmental organization specializing in the capacity building of functional literacy through digital for women traders in Côte d’Ivoire. Established in 2017, the program offers rigorous, quality and needs-based programs, tailored to the individual and societal needs of learners, through the use of ICT.
Through a capacity building approach and innovative methods using ICT, the objective of the program is to empower beneficiaries and help them improve their reading, writing and arithmetic skills in order to better manage their income-generating activities. The learning was tailored to individual content and time needs through blended learning techniques.
Between 2018 and 2020, 1,360 students were enrolled in the class, of which an average of 97% were women. Learners had never had the chance to go to school before and by the end of the course they had basic functional literacy skills.
Mr. N’guessan Krou Emmanuel, President of GA-TIC, shares that the program was inspired by the illiteracy situation among traders in the markets of the district of Abidjan. “Despite the goodwill of his enterprising women, the lack of education constitutes a major obstacle to their development, both personally and socio-economically,” he says. Likewise, throughout the national territory, illiteracy is much more present among women than among men.
Around the world, COVID 19 has disrupted the education of millions of learners, which has had a huge impact on many literacy programs. Without the possibility of face-to-face lessons, GA-TIC has adopted a self-learning system for its beneficiaries. Each learner received a smartphone with a literacy app, allowing for some interaction and encouraging continuity of learning.
This system also enabled the organization to collect the information necessary for the progress of each learner. In addition, GA-TIC also helped learners over the phone and took care of their emotional difficulties during a pandemic.
Emmanuel says technology can help improve lifelong learning systems and their curriculum with additional content, especially on COVID 19 prevention issues and other vital information. Likewise, applications could be improved by making them more interactive with additional multimedia in order to overcome the lack of physical presence in classrooms.
In addition to receiving the UNESCO Literacy Prize, GA-TIC hopes to expand its program in Côte d’Ivoire and across Africa. They aspire to disseminate its literacy method through awareness raising and quality training so that the authorities can make digital literacy a priority.
To celebrate International Literacy Day, GA-TIC calls on governments and donors to make real investments in literacy, especially functional literacy through ICTs and reaffirms the fundamental role of literacy for development of every nation.
This year’s UNESCO International Literacy Prizes will be awarded to six outstanding literacy programs from Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Guatemala, India, Mexico and South Africa in occasion of International Literacy Day. UNESCO will organize a two-day international online conference on September 8-9. A special session with the winners of this year’s 2021 Awards will be held on September 9, with a focus on ‘inclusive distance and digital learning’.