January 16, 2012

Oxford to host a global campaign to address low literacy rates


The World Literacy Foundation today announced Oxford will host the World Literacy Summit in April 1-4 2012. The global event is a new initiative to target the staggering numbers of people unable to read or write in both developed and developing countries.

150 visionary leaders from government, education and international development, from up to 50 countries, will converge on Oxford for 4 days. The main objective of the Summit is to foster greater levels of collaboration and partnerships within the global literacy sector.

World Literacy Foundation CEO Andrew Kay said the World Literacy Summit will provide building blocks to reach the 796 illiteracy people in the world, with effective programmes and support.

“Literacy is integral for people to gain employment, raise their income and positively impacting their society,” he said.

“If a person does not have the solid base of literacy and numeracy skills that so many of us take for granted, their opportunities in life are far more limited”.

A recent report by the World Literacy Foundation highlighted that the economic and social costs of illiteracy are estimated at 2-2.5% of a country’s GDP. It also stated that the direct and in-direct costs of low literacy rates to an economy include unemployment, poverty, and health and welfare costs. Furthermore, an illiteracy adult will earn 30% less than someone who can read or write.

Mr Kay said illiterate people are prone to making poor decisions on their health and personal welfare, and this follows a vicious cycle of poverty and disadvantage.

“This is the first time that a global think tank of literacy experts has been dedicated to collectively addressing the problem of world literacy and its link to poverty,” he said.

“Leaders and experts from the literacy community from around the world will attend this Summit to build a collective plan of action to make inroads into wiping out illiteracy.”

Oxford educators, students and literacy experts are invited to attend the event, which will take place in several of Oxford’s most significant venues and colleges, including the Sheldonian Theatre, Bodleian Library, and Balliol, Trinity and Wadham Colleges.


For further information about the World Literacy Summit visit www.worldliteracy2012.org

For further information and interviews, contact: Andrew Kay (61 419 201 089) andrew.kay@worldliteracyfoundation.org

Andrew Kay is the CEO of the World Literacy Foundation, a global literacy organisation committed to tackling the problem of literacy and strengthening collaboration within the literacy sector. Visit www.worldliteracyfoundation.org

The World Literacy Summit will be held in Oxford, United Kingdom, on 1-4 April 2012. As a global event the Summit will provide leaders in the developed and developing world the opportunity to gather and form an action plan, which will build long-term, sustainable solutions to reduce the global crisis of illiteracy.

The Summit is sponsored by Pearson, the world's leading learning company. Pearson provides educational materials, technology, assessments and related services to help millions of people learn, in more than 70 countries and in over 100 languages. 

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
© World Literacy Foundation. All rights reserved. Incorporated Association No. A0055790R