Microsoft Helps Create the UNESCO KINL (Knowledge and Innovations Network for Literacy) Portal

Posted by Owen Linderholm
Director, Microsoft on the Issues

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has announced that in conjunction with International Literacy Day it is launching a new portal for supporting and promoting literacy efforts globally. Microsoft shares the global concern with literacy – both for children and adults. It is estimated that there are 796 million illiterate adults worldwide and 67.4 million children not attending school and at risk of becoming illiterate adults. Reducing these numbers is a global priority. In fact, halving the global adult illiteracy rate by 2015 is one of the specific goals of the UN Literacy Decade that was launched in 2003.

The portal, called the Knowledge an Innovations Network for Literacy (KINL) has been supported by Microsoft and Verizon. 

This new portal is intended to be a global workplace where literacy researchers and workers can connect, share information and discuss literacy in English, Spanish and French. The portal, called the Knowledge and Innovations Network for Literacy (KINL) has been supported by Microsoft and Verizon. The hope and expectation is that KINL will foster creativity and innovation in advancing literacy as well as be a support worldwide for people working on literacy. Microsoft shares the global concern with literacy – both for children and adults. It is estimated that there are796 million illiterate adults worldwide and 67.4 million children not attending school and at risk of becoming illiterate adults.

Dr Cheick Modibo Diarra, Africa Chairman for Microsoft, champion within Microsoft for literacy issues and also a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, said “International Literacy Day is an important occasion for every one of us to reaffirm our shared commitment to a world of universal literacy, dignity and opportunity. With literacy comes access to knowledge that can save and change lives and livelihoods. However, resources must be matched with resourcefulness and eradicating illiteracy is a shared responsibility. Information technology is proving to be a powerful force for bringing literacy and education more rapidly and sustainably to millions of people worldwide, and Microsoft is proud to be a partner to UNESCO in this vital cause.”

The KINL portal was built by Microsoft partner Infusion on top of the Microsoft SharePoint platform and it will go live on November 1st, 2010. UNESCO and Microsoft have worked in partnership since 2004 on a range of programs to support the use of technology to transform education, reduce poverty and help address the digital divide. In regards to literacy, technology is not only a platform to teach basic literacy skills, but also a pathway to digital literacy and an enabler for participation in the global information society:

The specific goals of the portal are:

  • Creating and disseminating knowledge on literacy among relevant stakeholders worldwide; 
  • Facilitating knowledge exchange;
  • Identifying critical issues for and gaps in literacy research and innovation
  • Fostering collaboration and partnerships in literacy knowledge creation and research and their application
  • Advocating for literacy, in particular by facilitating the presentation of knowledge and research evidence to policy-makers
  • Making new knowledge and research outputs available to support innovation and capacity building for literacy practitioners (trainers, facilitators, implementers, etc)

“Promoting literacy requires action from both the public and private sectors; we are all stakeholders in the fight to eradicate illiteracy,” said Dr. Diarra about KINL. “Microsoft shares UNESCO’s belief that technology can play an important role in doing so by providing access to education solutions and curriculum for both basic and digital literacy and helping more people participate in the global information society.”

You can find out more about KINL on Microsoft’s Worldwide Public Sector page on the Microsoft News Center.

UNESCO’s press release can be found here.

A video message from the Director General of UNESCO, Irena Bokova.

 

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