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Why we should invest in getting more kids to read — and how to do it

Harry A. Patrinos's picture
Data shows that huge swaths of populations in developing countries are not learning to read. Scaling up early reading interventions will be a first step toward addressing these high illiteracy rates.
Data shows that huge swaths of populations in developing countries are not learning to read. Scaling up early reading interventions will be a first step toward addressing these high illiteracy rates. (Photo: Liang Qiang / World Bank)


It is estimated that more than 250 million school children throughout the world cannot read. This is unfortunate because literacy has enormous benefits – both for the individual and society. Higher literacy rates are associated with healthier populations, less crime, greater economic growth, and higher employment rates. For a person, literacy is a foundational skill required to acquire advanced skills. These, in turn, confer higher wages and more employment across labor markets .

In Africa, changing norms and advocating for investments in the early years

Noreyana Fernando's picture
A conversation with Dr. Ibrahima Giroux, Senegal’s Early Years Fellow
 
Photo © Dominic Chavez/World Bank
The demand for expertise in the area of early childhood development is increasing in Africa. But this demand is not being met. (Photo: Dominic Chavez/World Bank)


The first few years of a child’s life have proven to be an ideal window of opportunity to break the cycle of poverty. Yet across the world, nearly half of all three to six-year-olds do not have access to pre-primary education.

Quality education for all: measuring progress in Francophone Africa

Raja Bentaouet Kattan's picture
Also available in: Français
 
Despite notable gains in expanding access, countries in West Africa still face a great challenge in providing a quality education for all. Photo: Ami Vitale / The World Bank


Quality education is one of the most powerful instruments for reducing poverty and inequality; yet it remains elusive in many parts of the world. The Programme for the Analysis of Education Systems (PASEC), which is designed to assess student abilities in mathematics and reading in French, has for the first time delivered an internationally comparable measure around which policy dialogue and international cooperation can aspire to improve. The PASEC 2014 international student assessment was administered in 10 countries in Francophone West Africa (Cameroon, Burundi, Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Chad, Togo, Benin, Burkina Faso, and Niger).

Une éducation de qualité pour tous : mieux évaluer les progrès en Afrique francophone

Raja Bentaouet Kattan's picture
Also available in: English
 
Si des progrès remarquables ont été accomplis sur le plan de la scolarisation, l’accès de tous les élèves à une éducation de qualité constitue encore un défi de grande ampleur pour les pays d’Afrique de l’Ouest. Photo : Ami Vitale / Banque mondiale


L’accès à une éducation de qualité est l’un des instruments les plus efficaces pour réduire la pauvreté et les inégalités. Il est pourtant loin d’être acquis dans de nombreuses régions du monde. Le Programme d’analyse des systèmes éducatifs (PASEC) a été conçu pour évaluer les acquis scolaires des élèves en mathématiques et en français, et fournir ainsi des données comparatives internationales qui puissent servir de base au dialogue sur l’action à mener et à la coopération internationale. En 2014, dix pays d’Afrique de l’Ouest francophone se sont soumis à ces tests : le Bénin, le Burkina Faso, le Burundi, le Cameroun, la Côte d’Ivoire, le Niger, la République du Congo, le Sénégal, le Tchad et le Togo.

Are citizen-led assessments raising learning levels?

Marguerite Clarke's picture



Citizen-led assessments (CLAs) emerged in India in 2005 as a way to raise awareness and advocacy around low learning levels, and to act as a force for bottom-up accountability and action that would improve education quality and learning. Thousands of volunteers traveled to rural districts and administered simple reading and math tests to the children in households they visited. The dismal results, published in the 2005 Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), helped stimulate debate and prioritize learning in national policy.

Global Hunger? School Feeding Offers Double Dividend of Healthier Children and Better Chances in the Classroom

Donald Bundy's picture

Co-authored by Lesley Drake, Director of the Partnership for Child Development

As leaves crackled and autumn closed in on Washington DC at this time last year, the Brookings Institution played host for a special event focused on global hunger. At that time, World Bank President, Robert B. Zoellick, joined Executive Director of the U.N. World Food Programme, Josette Sheeran, for a pre-Thanksgiving discussion on the fight against food insecurity that continues to wage on for millions around the globe.

Many of those hungry are the most vulnerable—particularly children.