Giving Compass' Take:

• This article from World Economic Forum discusses how the literacy challenge is still significant in parts of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, how COVID-19 has threatened progress, and how to re-imagine education post-pandemic. 

• How can philanthropy support global literacy initiatives with regards to the challenges presented by development leaders?

• Read about why global literacy matters and what organizations are taking action.

As we mark International Literacy Day this year, we can appreciate the great progress made in the last 50 years. The world’s literacy rate increased from 69% in 1976 to 86% in 2016. Progress has been made in every part of the world, but the literacy challenge remains significant in sub-Saharan Africa (where 64% of people are literate), South Asia (71%), the Middle East and North Africa (80%).

International Literacy Day on 8 September 2020 is a chance to think creatively about how to deliver education and literacy programmes to improve everyone’s future. Every country in the world has some portion of its population that is not yet literate. Right now the urgent challenge is to ensure continued progress and not to fall backwards, despite the immense challenges presented by COVID-19.

The pandemic has disrupted school operations and the learning experience, leaving many schools unable to reopen because remote technology is simply inaccessible. Adult literacy programmes have also been suspended. When we read, we step into other worlds and make journeys far beyond our own experience. Today, governments, NGOs, schools and charities find themselves in need of such a transportive journey to reimagine literacy beyond COVID-19.

Read the full article about how COVID-19 affects international literacy by Charles Chen Yidan at World Economic Forum.