[This article references R4D’s landscape analysis of the global literacy sector, which includes key findings and recommendations.]
Literacy experts and advocates gathered in Oxford this week to discuss the latest thinking around how to promote global literacy.
Despite recent improvements, it remains a major challenge but is massively underfunded and subject to a number of misconceptions, experts said.
The Sustainable Development Goals call for “all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, to achieve literacy and numeracy” by 2030. While youth literacy rates have jumped in the past 50 years, progress is not fast enough, experts warned.
Approximately 750 million people over the age of 15 still lack basic reading and writing skills. Two-thirds of these are women, according to the United Nations, with female literacy improving by just 1 percent since 2000. Sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia have the lowest literacy rates, and the poorest and most marginalized are least likely to be able to read and do basic sums.
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Photo © GPE/Kelley Lynch