100 Million Young People are Still Illiterate


100 Million Young People are Still Illiterate  GEM Report

This International Literacy Day there’s plenty to celebrate – the number of young people aged 15-24 with no literacy skills worldwide has fallen by 27% since 2000, a fact we hope to see reflected in plummeting adult literacy rates over time too. But this still leaves 100 million youth unable to read. How did so many get left-behind?

Levels of illiteracy are disproportionately high in Sub-Saharan Africa, affecting one in four young people. This is not only down to poor teaching, low school attendance, poverty or conflict, but also has a lot to do with a policy shared by most countries in the region: to teach children to read in official languages – English, French or Portuguese, rather than in the language they speak at home. It was estimated in 2000 that 87% of children were taught to read in languages they didn’t speak at home. For many children, the language of instruction at school is their third or fourth language.

Click to read the full blog post.

How Technology Can Transform Child Literacy in Developing Countries.

Having used simple mobile phones to support volunteer teachers in rural and isolated areas,I know how relevant mobile technologies are for enriching education – for teachers,learners and their parents.

How Technology Can Transform Child Literacy in Developing Countries
All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development

Tuesday, Sept. 11, from 9-10am EST 

In recognition of International Literacy Day, ACR GCD will present the findings and lessons learned from 11 EdTech pilot projects funded by ACR GCD from 2014-2017, spotlighted in our new report, Technology-Based Innovations to Improve Early Grade Reading Outcomes in Developing Countries.

Presenters include research firm School-to-School International as well as ACR GCD-funded innovators Creative AssociatesLittle Thinking Minds, and Sesame Workshop India Trust.

Participants will learn about the research design, project impact, and scalability assessment as well as recommendations to guide future EdTech project design, research, and funding decisions. Come with your most pressing research and implementation questions and join us for this interactive webinar.

Join this event using this link https://meetings.ringcentral.com/j/1499781989, or by phone at (773)231-9226 using meeting ID#149-978-1989.

International Mother Language Day

Today, on International Mother Language Day, which is focused on the importance of linguistic diversity for sustainable development, it is important to remember what difference being taught in your mother tongue can make one one’s ability to learn. Choices over the language of instruction can have a huge impact on learning outcomes In most countries […]

via Children taught in their mother language are more likely to develop literacy skills — World Education Blog

The research is not new, that children taught in their mother tongue , in the early years, at least, are more likely to develop literacy skills but also to achieve in formal schooling, with its demands for literacy across the curriculum. What is also important is children’s cultural and linguistic roots and their feeling of self worth, knowing that teachers respect their families, home language and the cultural diversity.

Unfortunately, having worked in both Vietnam and Tanzania, political issues come before child rights and the national language is the only one that can be accepted. Some countries, such as Zambia, have recently heeded the call and have allowed children to learn in their mother language during the first three years of formal schooling, which at least gives them time to develop their literacy frameworks, so that learning in a second language is much easier.

What do we mean by literacy in a digital world?

Still hard to believe that so many parents and caregivers may not be able to read, let alone be digitally literate.


The meaning of the word literacy has developed continuously over the years. Today, the fact that International Literacy Day is on the theme of literacy in a digital world reminds us how the world has changed. At the end of the US Revolution in 1787, Thomas Jefferson wrote from Paris that, “were it left to […]

via What do we mean by literacy in a digital world? — World Education Blog

International Literacy Day – 07 September 2012

International Literacy Day – 07 September 2012

 (normally the 8th but this year falls on a Saturday)

There are many countries trying to come to terms with learning more than one language. In countries where there are several ‘local’ languages, debate rages about education in the mother tongue or national ‘unifying’ language. Scientifically, competence in L1 leads to developmental competence in L2. Some parents dismiss their own local language wanting their children to learn in a language ‘with a future’. Ministries of education may feel it is too expensive to develop and distribute textbooks in local languages or there are political issues which blind them to the science of learning. This said , there is no denying the power of literacy to empower and for this reason we should celebrate International Literacy  Day and try harder to find opportunities to support all children and their parents to develop literacy at least at a functional level.

International Literacy Day, traditionally observed annually on September 8, focuses attention on worldwide literacy needs. More than 780 million of the world’s adults (nearly two-thirds of whom are women) do not know how to read or write, and between 94 and 115 million children lack access to education.

USAID, World Vision and AusAID are partnering to launch a multi-year initiative that seeks to improve early grade reading outcomes in low-resource settings called All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development.Through this fund, we are working to bring clarity and attention to the problem, to articulate the fundamental barriers to success, and to fund the design and implementation of solutions. We expect to achieve substantial global impacts in early grade reading by leveraging the power of research, capitalizing on innovation, catalyzing partnerships, and increasing the utilization of science, technology, and 21st century infrastructure. 

For more information click here.


Why literacy means peace

International Literacy Day 2010 Literacy: An essential foundation for development

International Literacy Day 2010

Literacy: An essential foundation for development

International Literacy Day

8 September

Literacy is a cause for celebration since there are now close to four billion literate people in the world. However, literacy for all – children, youth and adults – is still an unaccomplished goal and an ever moving target. A combination of ambitious goals, insufficient and parallel efforts, inadequate resources and strategies, and continued underestimation of the magnitude and complexity of the task accounts for this unmet goal. Lessons learnt over recent decades show that meeting the goal of universal literacy calls not only for more effective efforts but also for renewed political will and for doing things differently at all levels – locally, nationally and internationally.In its resolution A/RES/56/116, the General Assembly proclaimed the ten year period beginning 1 January 2003 the United Nations Literacy Decade. In resolution A/RES/57/166, the Assembly welcomed the International Plan of Action for the Decade and decided that Unesco should take a coordinating role in activities undertaken at the international level within the framework of the Decade.

Why literacy is important?

Literacy is not just about educating, it is a unique and powerful tool to eradicate poverty and a strong means for social and human progress. The focus of literacy lies in acquiring basic education for all, eradicating poverty, reducing infant mortality, simmering down population growth, reaching gender equality and ensuring constant development, peace and democracy. There are sufficient reasons why literacy is the centre of Education for All (EFA). A good quality basic education equips people with literacy potentials for life and further learning; literate parents are inclined to send their children to school; literate people are prone to access continuing educational opportunities; and educated societies are better geared to keep pace with the pressing development.

Hence literacy is considered as an effective way to enlighten a society and arm it to facing the challenges of life in a stronger and efficient way, raise the level of personal living, create and assist change the society.

UNESCO undertakes capacity-building for sustainable literacy through multidimensional activities. The main areas of capacity-building in the fields of literacy and non-formal education include:

– policy formulation and implementation

– institution building

– planning and management

– curriculum development and materials design

– teaching and learning strategies and methodologies

– training of trainers, as well as facilitators

– developing support structures and mechanisms, as well as learner performance assessment

– monitoring and evaluation

The modalities of capacity development for literacy include training, study visits, peer reviews, South-South and North-South exchanges, networking and partnership-building. Various groups from the governmental and civil society levels are the focus of capacity development, including policy-makers, planners, and programme managers and implementers. The sustainability of any literacy action depends on good capacity, and efforts to improve it must start from an assessment of capacity needs at country level.


A situation analysis, such as that carried out by LIFE countries, is one way of identifying capacity-building needs. Another tool for this purpose is the UNESCO National Education Support Strategy (UNESS).

Related links

NFE-MIS Handbook: Developing a Sub-national Non-formal Education Management Information System

Handbook for Literacy and Non Formal Facilitators in Africa

Manual for Developing Literacy and Adult Education Programmes in Minority Language Communities (UNESCO Bangkok)

Training Guide and Training Techniques (UNESCO Bangkok)

Handbook: Non-formal Adult Education Facilitators (APPEAL, UNESCO Bangkok)

From INEE:

Teacher Guide: Basic Literacy, Numeracy and Themes for Everyday Living, NRC and UNESCO, 2000. Download here.

Effective literacy programmes: Options for policy-makers Oxenham, J. 2008. Paris, UNESCO-IIEP. 140 p. (Fundamentals of Educational Planning, No. 91) Download here.

First language first: community-based literacy programmes for minority language contexts in Asia UNESCO Office Bangkok and Regional Bureau for Education in Asia and the Pacific. 2005. Bangkok, UNESCO Bangkok. Download here.

Literacy for all: making a difference Lind, A. 2008. Paris, UNESCO-IIEP. 147 p. (Fundamentals of Educational Planning, No. 89). Download here.

Mother Tongue-based Literacy Programmes: Case Studies of Good Practice in Asia UNESCO Office Bangkok and Regional Bureau for Education in Asia and the Pacific. 2007. Bangkok, UNESCO Bangkok. Download here.

Literacy, knowledge and development: South-South policy dialogue on quality education for adults and young people Singh, M. and Castro Mussot, L. M. 2007. Hamburg, UIL; Mexico City, INEA. Download here.

Literacy skills for the world of tomorrow: further results from PISA 2000 UNESCO Institute for Statistics, OECD. 2003. Paris, OECD. Download here.

Handbook for literacy and non-formal education facilitators in Africa, 2006. Paris, UNESCO.Download here.

From Closed Books to Open Doors: West Africa’s Literacy Challenge co-authored in 2009 by the African Network Campaign for Education For All (ANCEFA) http://www.ancefa.org, Pamoja West Africa, http://www.pamojareflect.org, The African Platform for Adult Education, http://www.africasplateforme.org, Oxfam International oxfam.com and ActionAid iwww.actionaid.org.
Download here.

Early Grade Reading Assessment Toolkit prepared by RTI International for the World Bank Office of Human Development in 2009. Download here.

Update on the Early Grade Reading Assessment Toolkit including use of it/ plans for capacity building and institutionalisation, which is being used in several crisis and post-crisis contexts

Video and power point lecture from Prof: Andreas Schleicher, Head of the Indicators and Analysis division in the OECD Directorate for Education, speaking on Benchmarking International Best Practices, in Washington on July 10, 2009. Download here.

and more related websites:

UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) provides news, research and information on literacy. http://www.iiep.unesco.org/en/search-engine.html

International Reading Association’s website offers a number of excellent resources and tools on literacy: http://www.reading.org/General/Default.aspx?page=/association/meetings/literacy_day.html&mode=redirect

Teachers Talking About Learning offers a collection of articles, briefings and overviews on the Rights of Children; teaching strategies aligned with a Child-Friendly approach; and overviews on related learning theories. http://www.unicef.org/teachers/

Proliteracy offers adult literacy programmes in over 50 developing countries. Their website has a number of tools along with an International Literacy blog:

Asia Pacific Literacy Database provides regional, national and subnational literacy and education statistics and policies as well as assessment reports and sample curricula.

The Basic Education Commission raises public and private support for quality basic education as a key element in economic development and human well-being.http://www.basiced.org/

New Year’s Resolution – click and give

New Years Resolutions -can become New Year’s Revolutions for some!

With little time but a will to take action, no matter how small there is a growing list of ‘click and give’ sites where charity sponsors provide a site where people just have to click a button and the sponsor will do the rest.

Seems simple but if it provides a little help somewhere then its worth a try along with all the other things we do.

How it works: The original of these is the TheHungerSite. Go there, click the special link on the homepage and it’s prominently-displayed sponsors donate a cup of staple foodstuff to someone starving.

Others: There’s also TheBreastCancerSite, Your click on the “Click Here to Give – it’s FREE” button helps fund free mammograms for women in need — low-income, inner-city and minority women whose awareness of breast cancer and opportunity for help is often limited. Your click is paid for by site sponsors, and mammogram funding is provided to clinics throughout the U.S. through the efforts of the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

TheLiteracySite .

On average, over 80,000 individuals from around the world visit the site each day to click the “Click Here to Give – it’s FREE” button. To date, more than 87 million visitors have helped provide more than 1.6 million books to children who need them the most.

Full info in the Guide: Feed The Starving for Free

Or what about volunteering?

What about going a little more green in 2010: check out treehugger

Readers’ International Day of Climate Action Photos
Readers’ Composting & Vermicomposting Systems
Readers’ Best Refashioned Clothing Projects
Readers’ Commuter Bike Photos
Readers’ Most Interesting Farmers Market Finds
Readers’ Edible Container Gardens
Readers’ Eco-Vacation Photos: Hiking, Biking, Camping, and More


and while staying green -what about  cutting your own carbon emissions by 10% during 2010?

10:10 is an ambitious project to unite every sector of British society behind one simple idea: that by working together we can achieve a 10% cut in the UK’s carbon emissions in 2010.

and schools can join in too-

Joining 10:10 makes your school or university part of the solution to climate change. The aim is to reduce emissions by 10% in one year – or as close as you can get. By reducing emissions you’ll be cutting costs and at the same time leading the way on the defining issue of our age.

For more ways to get involved, join up to the 10:10 Schools Ning and get help and advice cutting your school’s carbon emissions.

The 10:10 Schools Ning is a good source of further information and if you post a question, other people in the e-community can help answer it. As well as experienced teachers and headteachers, there are energy experts and other experts who can help you cut your carbon.

You can also request free 10:10 stickers, checklists and buy 10:10 tags through our delivery partner

To request free stickers and checklist please email schools@1010uk.org

To buy tags please go to the ActionAid shop at www.actionaid.org.uk/schools-shop