The Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS), Bhubaneswar, Orissa, won the prestigious UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize 2022 for its outstanding literacy program. KISS is considered the largest institute for the indigenous students in the world, according to a PRNewswire release. The award was presented Sept. 8, 2022, at a global award ceremony hosted by UNESCO in Côte d’Ivoire on Sept. 8 and 9, to celebrate International Literacy Day.
A non-profit established in 1992-93 by well-known educationist Dr Achyuta Samanta to empower the indigenous population through education, KISS is a fully free residential educational institution that provides holistic education, comprehensive skilling and sports empowerment.
“I thank UNESCO for recognizing our efforts and social innovations in the field of education, literacy and indigenous empowerment. In my childhood, I struggled to get proper education and now I put all my life and soul to provide holistic education to millions at margins,” Dr. Samanta said in his message.
The India-based Institute is credited with adopting “innovative pedagogies as learning tools and bringing about a perceptible change in the socio-economic lives of the indigenous population through education,” the press release said.
The UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize is sponsored by the Government of the Republic of Korea and recognizes contributions to mother language-based literacy development. KISS has received the award in the category of ‘Mother Tongue Based Multilingual Education programme’. The award carries an endowment of US$ 20,000, a medal and a diploma. KISS is a constituent of the KIIT Group of Institutions.
Every year, the UNESCO International Literacy Prizes focus on a specific theme. This year, the spotlight was on Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces. KISS is the fifth institute from India and the first from Odisha to receive this international prize. It is also the third among the non-profit NGOs and first indigenous based organisation to be conferred with this award.
According to the press release, KISS has transformed the lives of 70,000 indigenous children (30,000 children pursuing education and 40,000 alumni) directly and about 700,000 lives in the indigenous communities indirectly.