Investing in Global Literacy | John Jezzini

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Investing in global literacy is not talked about enough; in today's interview with John Jezzini, We will be taking a look at how much is invested in global Literacy worldwide.

Q: John Jezzini, Let's talk about investing in global literacy.

A: A commitment to global literacy significantly impacts the lives of children in developing nations and the future we will all share. Any educational endeavor must be built based on reading since it underlies a child's whole learning experience. Early grades, or even earlier if feasible, provide the finest chance to develop reading skills. This investment prospectus outlines the case for increased literacy spending as a key to all future learning and a potent tool to break intergenerational cycles of poverty. The sooner we spend teaching kids to read so they can read to learn, the greater the payoff will be for everyone.

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There has been significant improvement in children's access to schools during the last ten years. Governments have expanded school access and attendance in many developing nations, partly due to the UN's Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for universal primary education. In reality, primary school enrolment rates have increased from 83 percent in 2000 to over 90 percent globally as of 2013. Yet, more than a third of primary school-aged children must develop the most fundamental reading abilities globally. This equates to more than 250 million kids, aged 5 to 12, who cannot read or write, whether or not they are in school.1 Of them, 130 million still struggle with reading after completing four years of schooling. Another shocking figure is that 124 million children between 6 and 15 do not attend school. This number includes 65 million school dropouts and 59 million young ones who never began school.

Many of these kids are members of marginalized groups; they don't have access to educational opportunities due to a poisonous combination of prejudice and poverty. They are children from underprivileged origins, especially females, who reside in war-torn nations, slums, and isolated towns, who come from lower-caste or ethnic minority households, or who are crippled. South Asia and West and Central Africa have the lowest rates of literacy. Children with five years of schooling in certain sub-Saharan African nations have a 40% probability of becoming illiterate. These kids won't be able to escape the gravitational pull of widespread poverty. This low level of learning has the additional effect of growing the knowledge gap between developing and developed nations, with serious economic and employment repercussions, given the changing needs in the skills required for today's information-based economy.

Q: John Jezzini, What are the barriers to learning?

A: Too many children continue to leave school before finishing the elementary level, proving that attending school only sometimes converts into learning there. A startling percentage of kids do not know how to read even one word in a simple paragraph by the end of grade two or three, according to preliminary findings from an ongoing worldwide evaluation of reading impairments in 42 impoverished countries. Even after spending many years in school, between 25 and 75 percent of kids in the poorer areas of those nations are unable to read a single word. How can so many kids who have attended school for at least two years yet not be able to read a single word? The severity of the learning crisis suggests issues with classrooms, schools, and instructors. There is an urgent need for systemic improvements in education throughout the globe. The barriers to learning include:

Less than 75% of instructors in one-third of the nations studied received training under national norms. According to studies, in many nations, the typical teacher does not fare noticeably better on reading exams than the top-scoring sixth-graders. Additionally, the development of universal primary education has brought some systems' teacher supply to breaking point. Pupil-teacher ratios at elementary schools in sub-Saharan Africa topped 40:1 as of 2012, with the Central African Republic having the highest ratio at 80:1. The uncertified teachers have been recruited and hired in numerous nations due to a need for qualified educators.

Around the globe, 220 million children are being taught to read in a language that is neither their mother tongue nor the language they use daily. There may be opposition to speaking in one's native tongue because it is stigmatized or because parents feel that doing so prevents their kids from learning a language of authority that is utilized in business and government. Because of this language barrier, teachers, parents, and communities find promoting children's reading skill development challenging. As a result, many pupils repeat their grades or quit school.

Additionally, there is a significant amount of lost instructional time in developing nations because of impromptu school closings, teacher and student absences, and inefficient classroom management, all of which reduce students' learning opportunities. For instance, it was discovered that schools in Mali were open 70% of the time they were supposed to, but in Senegal, teacher absenteeism reached 30%. The greatest classroom congestion occurs in the early grades, while the best instructors are often assigned to teach in the upper years. Splitting large classrooms into half results in a 40% loss in instructional time and worse learning outcomes. According to research, kids in many nations spend 2.5 hours a day, or 60 percent of the school year, "on-task," or present and concentrated on learning.

Q: What are the proven benefits of boosting literacy?

Children may achieve their potential at school and throughout their lives through reading. We must learn to modify the area of our brains that identifies pictures to detect written letters and words. Basic reading abilities required to become "literate" do not naturally develop. Additionally, within and outside the official educational system, learning must be promoted from an early age and consistently. According to a five-year longitudinal study of children's reading success, reading proficiency at the end of first grade predicts reading proficiency in third grade. Children go from learning to read and evolve to reading to learn during this educational phase. Children may only catch up if they can read by the third or fourth grade. They find it difficult to keep up with their classmates and have restricted access to a larger curriculum. According to research, only 13 percent of struggling pupils benefit from specialized catch-up reading programs beyond grade four. Once they are behind in academics, children are more inclined to quit school completely.

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Q: what is the return on investment in literacy programs?

A: Everyone agrees that investments in basic education provide far better returns than those in secondary or higher education. According to calculations based on data from more than 800 surveys conducted in 139 countries, an extra year of elementary education had an average global return on investment that resulted in a 10% gain in income.

Generally, the returns are greater for girls than for males, and they are larger in low- or middle-income nations compared to high-income ones. Contrarily, when young ones, particularly females, struggle in school, they are more likely to leave early, negatively affecting economic development. By failing to educate females to the same levels as boys in 2007, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, and Nigeria lost $301 million, $974 million, and $1,662 million in economic development. Additionally, failing to learn in primary school has major financial repercussions: when a kid repeats a grade, the government spends twice or more than it would have otherwise. The cost of the worldwide learning crisis affecting primary-aged children is estimated at $129 billion annually by the Education for all (EFA) Global Monitoring Report.

Q: John Jezzini, what are your final words?

A: If a youth does not learn to read, their capacity to study and develop in school is severely hindered, increasing the likelihood of becoming an adult living in poverty. The need to invest in global literacy is essential.