2 February, 2012

Launch of global campaign to target spiralling low literacy rates amongst the poor


The World Literacy Foundation today announced a new global initiative to target the staggering numbers of people unable to read or write in both developed and developing countries.

World Literacy Foundation CEO Andrew Kay launched a new global think tank on literacy, which aims to foster greater collaboration and partnerships within the global literacy sector. The new global think-tank will comprise of 300 visionary leaders from government, education and international development, from 50 countries.

Mr Kay said these leaders in the literacy sector will come together for the first time at the inaugural World Literacy Summit, which is to be held in Oxford, United Kingdom from April 1-4.

“This significant global event will provide building blocks to reach the 796 illiteracy people in the world, with effective programmes and support,” he said.

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 literacy is integral for people to gain employment, raise their income and positively impacting their society.

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

Mr Kay said he was excited at the prospect of the convening the literacy think-tank of leaders at the World Literacy Summit in Oxford.

“This is the first time ever a global think tank of literacy experts has been dedicated to collective 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.”


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

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