At least 771 million young people and adults lack basic literacy skills globally
THANDISIZWE MGUDLWA l Friday, September 09, 2022
CAPE TOWN, South Africa – This week, the United States government celebrates International Literacy Day (ILD) 2022 by committing $13 million to expand Family Literacy in Egypt.
According to sources, since 1978, the U.S. Government has invested over $1.7 billion (EGP 32.5 billion) to support education in Egypt. And since 1967, International Literacy Day (ILD) celebrations have taken place annually around the world to remind the public of the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights, and to advance the literacy agenda towards a more literate and sustainable society.
“But despite progress made, literacy challenges persist with at least 771 million young people and adults lacking basic literacy skills today. Commenting on the importance of the program’s expansion, USAID Mission Director Leslie Reed said, “With this new funding, we look forward to expanding the intergenerational literacy program to Beni Suef. This program is part of the U.S. Government’s long-standing commitment to supporting education in Egypt.”
In honor of International Literacy Day, the U.S. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), this week announced $13 million (EGP 250 million) in new funding to expand one of its most successful literacy programs, Literate Village, to the governorate of Beni Suef—the fifth governorate to receive such funding.
The program builds on $26 million (EGP 500 million) in earlier U.S. support to the program, which to date has reached nearly 60,000 students in 1,935 community schools with early grade reading instruction, reading materials, teacher trainings, and reading camps.
Beyond the classroom, the program also aims to develop a culture of literacy, education, and self-sufficiency by teaching mothers to read and write and by providing them with skills and job training to support themselves and their children, according to reports. And since 2017, the Literate Village program has operated in the governorates of Assiut, Beheira, Sohag, and Minya, and also worked to develop a network of community leaders to encourage school attendance, promote a love of reading, and help children thrive.
With this new funding, the program will also introduce a climate change awareness component into the curriculum and, along with the Ministry of Education and Technical Education, provide community schools in rural areas with equipment, infrastructure, and training to expand their digital learning resources.
And according to UNESCO, the rapidly changing global context took a new meaning over the past years, hampering the progress of global literary efforts. In the aftermath of the pandemic, nearly 24 million learners might never return to formal education, out of which, 11 million are projected to be girls and young women.
To ensure no one is left behind, we need to enrich and transform the existing learning spaces through an integrated approach and enable literacy learning in the perspective of lifelong learning. This year’s International Literacy Day will be celebrated worldwide under the theme, Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces and will be an opportunity to rethink the fundamental importance of literacy learning spaces to build resilience and ensure quality, equitable, and inclusive education for all.
At the global level, a two-day hybrid international event will be organized on 8 and 9 September 2022, in Côte d’Ivoire. The International Literacy Day global celebration lies at the heart of regional, country and local levels. As such, this year’s outstanding programmes and literacy practices will be announced through the 2022 UNESCO International Literacy Prizes award ceremony.