The Literacy Issue


The global literacy crisis effects over three quarters of a billion people worldwide, in both the developing and the developed worlds. Low literacy levels are regarded as being one of the main factors that contribute to the poverty cycle.  Despite this, little progress has been made to address what is one of the most pressing issues facing our world today.

  • One in five adults, or 796 million people, lack basic literacy skills.
  • 67 million primary school aged children don’t attend school
  • Millions more are sitting in classrooms and receiving education of such a poor quality that it will do little to enhance their life chances
  • Each year of primary school increases the wages people earn later in life by 5-15% for boys and even more for girls
  • No country has ever achieved continuous and rapid economic growth without first having at least 40% of its adults able to read and write


There is no quick-fix solution to the problem and this challenge will not be easily overcome. Working together, in partnership, is our best chance of exploring and developing solutions that will transform the lives of millions.


Working together in partnership we can draw on a wider range of ideas, knowledge and experience and address this crisis head on.


Something needs to be done to address the global literacy crisis. Everyone deserves the chance to receive an adequate education and overcome poverty!




Since its formation in 2003, the World Literacy Foundation has been committed to breaking the cycle of low levels of literacy in both the developed and developing world. In 2008, the people behind the World Literacy Foundation conceived the idea of a World Literacy Summit.


This global event was envisaged to provide leaders in the developed and developing world, the opportunity to come together, and form an action plan which would build long term, sustainable solutions to reduce the global crisis of illiteracy.


After years of ambition, vision, and planning the World Literacy Summit is now a reality, and is scheduled to be held in Oxford, United Kingdom, April 2012.


This is a unique and important opportunity for all of us to come together and devise a strategy to help some of the world’s most disadvantaged individuals.




The World Literacy Summit Steering Committee is responsible for the organisation of the Summit. They include:


Dr Tony Cree, CEO of the Aboriginal Literacy Foundation, Australia

Dr Donald Green, Vice President of Ferris University, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

Mr Andrew Kay, CEO of the World Literacy Foundation, Australia
Mr Lachlan Macindoe, Youth Ambassador & Advocate, Australia

Mr Keith Hutchence, broadcaster, author and journalist, UK
Mr Peter Ma, Director, Chi Fat International, Hong Kong

Staff of the World Literacy Foundation and Aboriginal Literacy Foundation



American Economic Statistics Office Pearson World Conference on Trade Research Society Institute for Microfinance Research
World Literacy Foundation Writers Guild of American Economics Aboriginal Literacy Foundation Aboriginal Literacy Foundation
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