In his recent Huffington Post blog, World Bank President Jim Kim spoke about how the learning crisis is one of the greatest obstacles to development. According to the United Nations, an estimated 171 million people can lift themselves out of poverty if all students in poor countries acquired basic reading skills.
Click here to view the full Infographic in high resolution.
Tomorrow, a Learning for All Ministerial Meeting will bring together development partners and ministers of finance and education from Bangladesh, the DRC, Ethiopia, Haiti, India, Nigeria, Yemen, and South Sudan – home to nearly half of the world’s out-of-school-children – to address challenges and steps to ensure that all children go to school and learn.
When President Obama announced a number of investment priorities for his second term that would expand the economy and strengthen the middle class, his focus on bolstering early childhood education caught my attention. I agree with his premise and furthermore think that what is good for the United States is also good for developing countries. But what stands in the way of a more aggressive, nationwide emphasis on early childhood development worldwide? Are opportunities being missed because of lack of knowledge or coordination failures?
In a recent trip to India I had the opportunity to visit schools in Tamil Nadu and observe the application of a new teaching approach in government schools. The Activity Based Learning (ABL) approach is a teaching technique in which learning is accomplished through activities, rather than through the traditional rote teaching we often observe in many schools across the developing world.
These government schools are serving mostly disadvantaged children. In the schools we visited, a majority of students are classified as scheduled casts/scheduled tribes. The infrastructure is basic -in one school children were working in the dark because the electricity was out - a regular occurrence in many schools in Tamil Nadu. Yet, there was significant learning going on.