Literacy Challenge Forum 2020: Digital Incompetence Is the Next Generation of Illiteracy

  • 24 Feb 2020
  • Dubai
  • The Forum explored illiteracy in its various forms: digital, environmental, and health related.

‘Illiteracy in all its forms’: digital, environmental, and health related, was a topic of discussion on day one of the Literacy Challenge Forum 2020, organised by the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation (MBRF), in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UNESCO.

Moderated by International Media Expert Ahmed Yousif, the panel brought together Dr Ahmed Ouzzi, Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Education at the University of Mohamed V in Rabat, Morocco; Dr Zahida Darwiche Jabbour, Professor of French and Francophone Literature at the Lebanese University; Dr Iqbal Samaloty, Secretary General of the Arab Network for Literacy and Adult Education; and Shadia Abdullah, Founder and Director at Rawafed Development and Learning Centre.

Dr Ahmed Ouzzi asserted that digital incompetence is considered to be the next generation of illiteracy. Eradicating it in the era of globalisation is key to civilizational advancement and a great source of power; it is an essential tool for achieving sustainable development and 90% of future jobs will need technical skills.

Dr Ouzzi pointed out that digital illiteracy means lacking “technical skills” or the ability to access, integrate, analyse, and create information through digital devices. Illiteracy in the general sense has come to take on various forms: health related, technological, and legal, and this makes it necessary to understand the importance of advanced technologies in eliminating these forms of illiteracy.

For her part, Dr Iqbal Samaloty presented the ‘Women and Digital Life’ project – a curriculum that was developed in collaboration with the Ministries of Education and Communications in Egypt, as well as UNESCO and Microsoft. The programme specialises in empowering women through the use of technology.

Meanwhile, Shadia Abdullah highlighted two programmes launched by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) in Dubai, in collaboration with the Rawafed Development and Learning Centre.

The first is called ‘Tamkeen’ and seeks to train fresh Emirati graduates, as well as residents whose conditions prevented them from pursuing their education in their countries of origin, to master the skills necessary to enter the job market. The second project is named ‘Thuraya Fund’ and seeks to reduce illiteracy in the Arab world.