News Column

World Bank - 250 Million Children Unable to Read, Write

January 23, 2014

Abiodun Oluwarotimi

The World Bank yesterday said that an estimated 250 million children around the world are unable to read and write, even after spending three or more years in school. This was disclosed at the launching of a new open data tool that the global bank said would provide in-depth, comparative, and easily accessible data on education policies around the world. The launching of the open data tool was a side event of the just concluded World Education Forum which was held in London, United Kingdom . The data tool called "The Systems Approach for Better Education Results (SABER)" will help countries collect and analyse information on their education policies, benchmark themselves against other countries, and prioritise areas for reform, with the goal of ensuring that all children and youth go to school and learn. Speaking at the event, World Bank Group acting vice president for Human Development and Director of Education, Ms Elizabeth King said that education was one of the most important drivers for ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity. She added that guaranteeing a basic education meant little unless schooling led to learning for all children and youth, stressing that achieving better learning outcomes depended not only on having enough classrooms, teachers, and textbooks, but also on having the right policy environment to make sure they contribute to learning. In the statement, the World Bank Group maintained that despite significant progress in recent decades in getting children into school, learning levels remained alarmingly poor, adding that in low-income countries, many young people completed basic education without acquiring fundamental literacy and numeracy skills. "Even in middle-income countries, many students do not learn the basic skills expected by employers and needed to secure a job. Today, an estimated 250 million children around the world are unable to read and write, even after spending three or more years in school. "To date, the Bank Group , through SABER, has analysed more than 100 countries to guide more effective reforms and investments in education at all levels, from pre-primary to tertiary education and workforce development," the statement reads in part. Through SABER, the Bank Group aims to improve education quality by supplying policymakers, civil society, school administrators, teachers, parents, and students with more, and more meaningful, data about key education policy areas, including early childhood development, student assessment, teachers, school autonomy and accountability, and workforce development, among others.

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Source: AllAfrica

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