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Call for Applications: UNESCO International Literacy Prizes 2021 [Medal + Cash Prizes]: Submit by June 13: Expired

UNESCO has just opened its call for applications and encourages all champions in the field of literacy learning to apply for the prestigious UNESCO International Literacy Prizes. This is also a call for nomination entities to be ready to engage and nominate their favorite candidates from around the world.

Like every year, UNESCO rewards six individuals or organizations for their outstanding projects that promote literacy learning. This year the projects and programmes are requested to reflect the theme ‘Inclusive distance and digital literacy learning’.


The theme highlights innovative practices that literacy promoters have been initiating as a way to ensuring the continuity of literacy learning during the COVID-19 crisis. By finding solutions for continuing literacy learning for even the most vulnerable populations has made a difference during a critical time, where face-to-face teaching and learning is restricted.

In line with the UNESCO Strategy for Youth and Adult Literacy, the focus is, but not limited to, literacy learning in a lifelong learning perspective. Throughout the pandemic, distance learning has shown many faces and been supported by high-, low- and no tech solutions as well as hybrid learning that combined face-to-face learning.

The laureates will be celebrated on International Literacy Day, on 8 September. Since 1967, the UNESCO International Literacy Prizes have rewarded excellence and innovation in the field of literacy. Over 500 projects and programmes around the world have already received recognition and support for their excellent work.

Who can apply and who can nominate?
  • Governments, non-governmental organizations and individuals who promote literacy through projects and programmes are welcome to apply. All applications should be submitted to nominating entities, such as the National Commission for UNESCO in the country of the programme, or an NGO that is in an official partnership with UNESCO.
  • National Commissions and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in official partnership with UNESCO are encouraged to nominate individuals, institutions and organizations who are making outstanding contributions to promoting literacy and who request a nomination.
About the Prizes

Through two prestigious literacy Prizes, UNESCO supports effective literacy practices and encourages the promotion of dynamic literate societies to close the literacy gap of approximately 773 million of people.

UNESCO distinguishes between two Literacy Prizes which are given to six laureates in total:

  • The UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize (3 awards), was established in 1989 and is supported by the Government of the Republic of Korea. It gives special consideration to programmes that promote mother language-based literacy development. Each UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize winner receives a medal, a diploma and US$20,000.
  • The UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy (3 awards), was established in 2005, and is supported by the Government of the People’s Republic of China. This Prize recognizes programmes that promote literacy, including functional literacy, leveraging technological environments, in support of adults in rural areas and out-of-school youth. Each UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy winner receives a medal, a diploma and US$30,000.
Selection Criteria

Relevance to the themes

The programme/project is pertinent to the areas focused by the UNESCO International Literacy Prizes and the specific theme of this year.

Relevance to individuals and societal needs and robustness

The programme/project is relevant to the individual and societal needs in a given context.
The programme/project is robust and effective in its design, delivery, structure, management, monitoring and evaluation.

Quality of teaching and learning

The quality of teaching and learning involves interrelated dimensions such as the effectiveness, the efficiency, the equality, the relevance and the pertinence .


The ‘impact’ relates to both positive and negative changes made by a programme/project, to beneficiaries, communities and broader societies. Changes include both intended and unintended ones demonstrated by qualitative and/or quantitative evidence.

Innovative features

The Innovative features are concerned with new/original ideas, solutions, approaches, methods, devices and perspectives or new ways of adapting traditional ones which can adds value and make a concrete impact.


Sustainability is regarding lasting benefits and impacts of a programme/project beyond the lifecycle of the current programme/project.
This may involve the concrete activities of a programme/project designed to ensure sustainability of its results and impacts, the contributions to enriching literate environments in which learners can acquire, use, sustain, and advance literacy skills and the availability of future plan.

In addition to these criteria, the project/programme should:

  • be ongoing and proven record of innovative work in the field of literacy for at least three years.
  • have not been awarded the UNESCO International Literacy Prizes in the past five years.
  • promote literacy through effective and innovative projects or programmes.
How to Submit?

Candidates can submit their applications through the online platform

Important Dates
  • Deadline for candidates to submit applications to nominating entities: 13 June 2021 (midnight, Paris time).
  • Deadline for nominating entities to submit their nominations to UNESCO: 27 June 2021 (midnight, Paris time).


For more details, click the link below.

UNESCO International Literacy Prizes 2021
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One Comment

  1. Shobha Nagesh Gouda says:

    Name: Shobha Nagesh Gouda Address. Baleguli Bogribaile. Ankola uttara Kannada. Pincode : 581314. State: Karnataka country: India. Our village name bogribaile. Swimming pool construction. Opportunity to farm in the mulkey fields. A chance to sunlight in the hills. A chance to make stairs to the basil hill. Opportunity to metro from bogribaile. The opportunity for the construction of a foot bridge for small irrigation in agriculture. A chance to military base in the hills

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