Monday, December 09, 2013

UNESCO General Conference endorses Media and Information Literacy resolution: an international step forward!

The latest meeting of the UNESCO General Conference voted in favour of the draft resolution on Media and Information Literacy that my colleagues on the IFLA Information Literacy Section Committee had been working on persistently through its various stages and drafts, with UNESCO staff. UNESCO is the social/educational arm of the United Nations. Member states are now being encouraged to endorse this at a national level (so, the lobbying needs to continue!) The resolution was submitted by the Philippines, with support from Croatia, Finland, Germany, Oman, Poland, and the Russian Federation. It is so nice not to have to infer information literacy from statements about IT or literacy or knowledge society etc. - there the phrase is, in the title of the resolution.

The terminology in these kinds of documents has to follow certain patterns. It starts with several statements, notably that
"Recognizing that the achievement of UNESCO’s vision of Knowledge Societies is dependent on moving beyond ICT infrastructure and access to building the capacity of all citizens to participate actively and effectively in emerging knowledge societies,"
"Recognizing that Media and Information Literacy is essential for lifelong learning and is a prerequisite for sustainable development,
"Further recognizing that Media and Information Literacy is a means for achieving the goal of universal and equitable access to information and knowledge,
"Commends IFLA for its efforts in developing the Media and Information Literacy Recommendations;
"Invites Member States to endorse the Media and Information Literacy Recommendations;
"Further invites Member States to take the Media and Information Literacy Recommendations into consideration during the planning of future strategies, policies, and initiatives on education, lifelong learning, literacy, and other areas which will contribute to building a Knowledge Society."

In the middle portion of the document, amongst other things it notes that:
"The IFLA Media and Information Literacy Recommendations can provide the vital foundation for ensuring that all citizens have the skills and capabilities to participate equitably in the Knowledge Societies by outlining actions for multi-stakeholder collaborations between governments, private sector and civil society organizations, librarians, educators and other stakeholders in developed and developing countries"

Then there are the recommendations themselves, which end with some bullet points:
"In particular IFLA recommends that governments and organisations to do the following:
• Commission research on the state of Media and Information Literacy and produce reports, using the Media and Information Literacy indicators as a base [I have blogged about this indicators initiative previously, it is still ongoing], so that experts, educators, and practitioners are able to design effective initiatives;
• Support professional development for education, library, information, archive, and health and human services personnel in the principles and practices of Media and Information Literacy and Lifelong Learning;
• Embed Media and Information Literacy education in all Lifelong Learning curricula;
• Recognise Media and Information Literacy and Lifelong Learning as key elements for the development of generic capabilities which must be demonstrated for accreditation of all education and training programmes;
• Include Media and Information Literacy in the core and continuing education of information professionals, educators, economic and government policy - makers and administrators, as well as in the practice of advisors to the business, industry and agriculture sectors;
• Implement Media and Information Literacy programmes to increase the employability and entrepreneurial capacities of women and disadvantaged groups, including migrants, the underemployed and the unemployed; and,
• Support thematic meetings which will facilitate the acquisition of Media and Information and Lifelong Learning strategies within specific regions, sectors, and population groups."

The full draft resolution is at
A press announcement from IFLA is at

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