In school but not learning: take action on the learning crisis

Education is a powerful building block to end poverty, and every child deserves the chance to reach their full potential. There are now more children in school than at any point in human history and the number of girls in school has risen by 180 million since 1995. This is an incredible achievement and takes the world closer to reaching Sustainable Development Goal 4 – ‘Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’.

However, access to school is only part of the picture. The quality of education often doesn’t equip children with foundational learning skills such as literacy and numeracy. It is estimated that 90% of children in low-income countries cannot read and understand a simple text when they reach their 10th birthday – a benchmark the World Bank uses to define ‘learning poverty’.

Foundational learning skills have a multitude of benefits. For example, higher literacy rates correlate with improved child and family health and nutrition. Whilst the UK has long been a supporter of global efforts to improve education, and has recognised the importance of foundational learning skills, more needs to be done. The UK needs to strengthen its focus on, and monitoring of, the impact of its education programmes on children’s foundational learning. With a new Government and a newly appointed Minister for International Development, now is an important time to raise awareness of the learning crisis and importance of foundational learning skills.

This month, write to your MP to welcome Andrew Mitchell MP, the new Minister for Development, into his role and highlight the importance of tackling the learning crisis and focusing on foundational learning skills. Check out our action sheet for more details.

Note: At the time of writing the attached action sheet, the Minister for Development was Vicky Ford MP. Please write instead to the new Minster, Andrew Mitchell MP, if you are able to take action. Thank you!

Image: A school child in Ollaytantambo, Peru. Photo credit: salomonrbc / Flickr

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