World Learning believes everyone has the right to a high-quality education and literacy provides the foundation for that education. On International Literacy Day, we recognize the vital role literacy plays in education, both in the classroom and beyond. The UN declared this year’s theme to be “Literacy and Skills Development.” The theme acknowledges the ways literacy supports people’s ability to acquire in-demand knowledge that will help them find jobs, such as technical, vocational, and digital skills. It also explores integrated approaches to learning that help people develop literacy and other skills together.
Here are a few of the ways we’re working to expand and improve literacy education around the world.
Pakistan Reading Project
The Pakistan Reading Project (PRP) aims to improve the reading skills of 1.3 million children across the country by providing professional development to educators and engaging local communities to help establish a culture of reading. Funded by USAID, World Learning is implementing the project in partnership with a consortium of international and local partners led by the International Rescue Committee (IRC). With a $50,000 grant from the MoneyGram Foundation, World Learning has been able to expand its ability to improve literacy education resources by providing 150-book libraries to 100 government schools in the Bhimber, Muzaffarabad, Mirpur, Hattian Bala, Kotli and Neelum districts of Pakistan’s Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) region.
- Building a Culture of Literacy in Pakistan — Hear from Dr. Meredith McCormac, now World Learning’s vice president for Institutional Advancement and Learning, about how PRP is helping ensure long-term support for literacy education by working with local communities to establish a culture of reading.
Jasoosan Sheeba and the Private Detectives
In coordination with PRP, World Learning is also working with Pakistani enterprise AZ Corp Entertainment to develop a series of educational comic books aimed at Pakistani students in grades two through five. With funding from the U.K.’s Department for International Development, the series, Jasoosan Sheeba and the Private Detectives, follows a group of children who travel around Pakistan using science, math, and problem-solving skills to solve mysteries. Written for emerging readers, the stories incorporate rich, evocative vocabulary, as well as humor and adventure while simultaneously integrating key STEM facts. The first editions of the comics are out now with several more volumes coming soon.
Quality Instruction Towards Access and Basic Education Improvement
The Quality Instruction towards Access and Basic Education Improvement (QITABI) project aims to expand equitable access and improve learning outcomes for vulnerable students in Lebanese public schools. Funded by USAID in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education in Lebanon (MEHE), the project focuses on three main components, the first of which is improving Arabic language reading outcomes for primary level public school students. QITABI provides training and coaching to about 1,000 primary school teachers and offers day-to-day support through project facilitators and hosts parental and community awareness reading activities. In addition, it trains teacher mentors and trainers to continue professional development for educators and provides key educational resources for classrooms.
- The Storyteller of Nabatieh — Second grader Ghina is one of thousands of Lebanese children who have improved their reading skills and learned to love reading with QITABI’s support.
- In Lebanon, a New Bus Fleet is Helping Thousands of Kids Go Back to School — Without reliable, safe transportation, students won’t even have a chance to take advantage of their school’s improved literacy education. By procuring 100 new school buses, QITABI is helping expand access to education for thousands of students.
Leaders Advancing Democracy (LEAD) Mongolia Program
USAID’s Leaders Advancing Democracy (LEAD) Mongolia Program is helping to build the next generation of democracy champions across Mongolia. Part of the program includes an intensive Emerging Leaders Program, which brings emerging change makers together to build skills, network, and implement group projects to support positive change in their communities. The program also emphasizes the importance of inclusion and following the program some of the fellows have focused on projects that aim to make the country’s education system more inclusive.
- Learn How This Mongolian Activist Is Making the World a More Inclusive Place — Ariunzul Liijuu-Ochir is working to ensure all children, especially those from minority communities and students with disabilities, have access to an education that addresses their needs. This includes supporting literacy education by developing classroom materials in multiple languages with resources to make them accessible to students with visual and other disabilities.
- Mongolia Grapples with Deaf Education in Not-So-Silent Debate — Fellows Lkhagya Erdene and Nemekhbayar Batnasan highlighted the issues students with hearing impairments face in Mongolia through a televised debate. Expanding access to education using Mongolian sign language is crucial to helping students develop the literacy skills they need to succeed in higher education and the workplace.