The two day international conference of the E-9 countries on ICT (Information Communication Technology) for literacy ended with a call to universalise literacy. It gave a charter of 10 recommendations which includes an overall guidance and supervision of national policies and adoption of greater decentralisation of ICT programmes.
The charter document felt that locally - relevant context specific and flexible content for literacy can be delivered at low cost to cover the literacy programme in places that is most needed.
The charter also appealed to the governments to increase incremental investment in ICT for literacy. The concerned governments should accord a higher priority to this crucial area, and to commit additional funding for literacy initiatives.
The charter also stated that there has to be greater bilateral and multi-lateral cooperation between the countries, so that successful initiatives and best practices in one country may be replicated and delivered to beneficiaries elsewhere. The participating countries in this network have to establish a close network of E9 Focal Points as well as other focal points for adult literacy and elementary education, on the lines of similar, pre-existing knowledge sharing networks, to facilitate the speedy and efficient dissemination of information between the E9 countries.
Acknowledging the importance of civil society organisations and the private sector in modern-day development the charter recommended the deepening and augmentation of existing partnerships with these groups so that government efforts may be supplemented and enhanced to deliver literacy services to last-mile recipients, with a particular emphasis on girls, women, those from the most deprived sections of society and those residing in scattered and hard to reach areas of each country.
The plenary session of the conference took note of the significance of ICT in several fields especially in delivering and improving literacy services in the emerging economies. The need for which has been recognised as being crucial to the successful reduction of illiteracy worldwide where over 771 million adults were still illiterate out of which 304 million were in South Asian Countries. The development of cost-effective and easily replicable methods of dissemination using ICT media needs therefore to be encouraged, supported and broadened within the E9 countries that account for a majority of adult illiterates today.
The experts on the three different working groups that charted the recommendations have opined that there has been significant investment in ICT media at the school level, with ever-increasing numbers of schools, both formal and non-formal, gaining greater access to computers and computer-based learning programmes.
The experts in the charter have recommended that the possibility of using such existing school and other infrastructure, including that of open schools and distance education systems, for adult literacy programmes be explored, with a view to optimizing the cost of such investment. The countries in the E-9 should examine the adaptation of modern technologies and school literacy programmes, including but not limited to animation and cartoon films, for training of teachers in the development of bridge courses and packages for equivalency.
A certain degree of advocacy by the governments working in the field of adult literacy and access to literacy to the adults has become imminent stated the charter of recommendations.