Education is possibly the best tool we have for tackling poverty. Literacy is at the heart of education, and is a basic human right that we all deserve. When people have the chance to learn basic life and literacy skills economies grow faster and poverty rates decline. Everyone needs the opportunity to receive a quality education, yet despite this, 67 million primary aged children are not attending school, and 796 million adults cannot read or write.
Global education promises
In 1948 education was set as a basic human right for every person and enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This enforced the fact that every single person deserves the right to receive an education.
Over 60 years later this has still not become a reality, although world leaders have made several promises relating to education in this time. The most recent of these are the 2015 Millennium Development Goals set by the United Nations. They pledged to ensure that “by 2015, children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling”.
Progress towards these goals has been slow and unproductive. At current rates, there could be more children out of school in 2015 then there are now, and the goal of Education for All could take over 75 years to achieve. But we firmly believe that with some hard work Education for All is possible!
What must be done?
At the World Literacy Foundation we firmly believe that with some hard work and a clear plan we will be able to achieve Education for All in our lifetime. There is no quick-fix solution to the crisis, and the problem will not be easily overcome. Working together is our best chance of exploring and developing solutions that will transform the lives of millions.
Conquering the global literacy crisis is not an easy task, but that does not mean that it cannot happen. Literacy is a human right, a tool for personal empowerment and a means for social and human development. It is the key to eradicating poverty, improving health and life expectancy, achieving gender equality and ensuring sustainable peace, democracy and development throughout the world.
The World Literacy Foundation will not rest until we address this crisis once and for all, and we need your help to achieve this.
What has been achieved?
The crisis in global education has been slowly improving over the last decade. School fees in many countries have been dropped, allowing some of the world’s poorest children to attend schools.
Despite these achievements, overall progress in tackling global illiteracy has been far too slow. Much more needs to be done.
What can literacy achieve?
Basic literacy skills are imperative to conquering poverty and improving the standard of living for millions around the globe. Each extra year of schooling a child completes will dramatically increase their earnings later in life.
Education is essential to improving health, halting the spread of HIV/AIDs, enabling families to better cope with illness and improving the life expectancy of the world’s poorest.
In most countries women and girls are the last to get the opportunity to learn. It is appalling that we allow this to occur in this day and age. If we are serious about combating global illiteracy we must address the gender inequality in global education.
Educating women and girls is widely acknowledged as the most influential and effective way to combat global poverty. Females who finish secondary school earn more money, have smaller, healthier families, and are more likely to educate their own children. This can break the cycle of illiteracy in one generation.
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