Home | Competitions | UNESCO International Literacy Prizes | Rewarding Excellence & Innovation in Education | Wirkish, 2021

UNESCO International Literacy Prizes | Rewarding Excellence & Innovation in Education | Wirkish, 2021

Deadline: June 27th, 2021

Wirkers are not just people of innovation, excellence flows in our veins. It is for these and more that UNESCO, through its International Literacy Prizes, seeks to recognise outstanding individuals and organisations who have contributed to the advancement of literacy among children.

Since 1967, over 500 projects and programmes undertaken by governments, non-governmental organizations and individuals around the world have been recognized. Through these prestigious Prizes, UNESCO seeks to support effective literacy practices and encourages the promotion of dynamic literate societies.

Applicants will be asked to make submissions related to the 2021 theme “Inclusive distance and digital literacy learning” and take into consideration the specific focuses of the two prizes when applying.

Currently, there are two UNESCO International Literacy Prizes:

  • The UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize (3 awards)

Established in 1989, with the support of the Government of the Republic of Korea. It gives special consideration to mother language-based literacy development. 

Each of the three UNESCO King Sejong prizewinners receives a medal, a diploma and US$20.000.

  • The UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy (3 awards)

The UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy, established in 2005, with the support of the Government of the People’s Republic of China. It gives special consideration functional literacy, leveraging technological environments, in support of adults in rural areas and out-of-school Youth.

Each of the three UNESCO Confucius prizewinners receives a medal, a diploma and US$30.000.


  • Institutions, organizations and individuals promoting literacy through effective and innovative projects or programmes.
  • Eligible programmes or projects who have a proven record of innovative work in the field of literacy for at least three years.
  • Programmes/projects that have not been awarded the UNESCO International Literacy Prizes in the past five years.

Application Process

  • The first stage is for an applicant to fill in and submit an application form through either a National Commission for UNESCO or an International Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) maintaining official relations with UNESCO.
  • The second stage is for the concerned National Commission or international NGO to review and nominate the successful candidatures to the Secretariat of the UNESCO International Literacy Prizes.

Selection Process

Having passed the first two stages, all the applications submitted to UNESCO will be examined by an International Jury, composed of distinguished experts appointed by UNESCO’s Director-General, which meets in Paris once a year.

Based on its recommendations, the Director-General of UNESCO makes a final decision about the Prizewinners of 2021.

The Prizes are awarded every year at an official ceremony on the International Literacy Day, 8 September (TBC).

For More Information, contact UNESCO via  literacyprizes@unesco.org

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