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A journalist walks past a damaged school building following cross border shelling on the border between India and Pakistan A journalist walks past a damaged school building following cross border shelling on the border between India and Pakistan  (AFP or licensors)

New analysis shows 393 million children unable to read

A new analysis tool created by a number of organisations, including the charity "Save the Children" reveals the scale of a global learning crisis in which more than 393 million are unable to read.

By Vatican News staff reporter 

For millions of children around the world, their educational journey continues to progress as they make their way through their country’s school system. But for millions of others, they can only dream about being able to read and write. 

According to a new analysis tool launched on Monday, more than 393 million children have failed to gain basic literacy skills at age 10 since world leaders adopted the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015. 

Tracking tool 

The “Lost Potential Tracker” tool which was created by the ONE Campaign, the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and the charity Save the Children is an interactive device designed to “measure the scale of the global learning crisis.” 

For the first time ever, education experts and the public can track, in real time, the rising number of children who are unable to read by the age of 10. It also makes accessible the stories of children affected by the global learning crisis. 

Education emergency  

Speaking about the new analysis tool, Kevin Watkins, CEO Save the Children, said,  “The world is facing an unprecedented education emergency that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

If we are to live up to our commitments to achieving the full range of SDGs and children’s right to education, then improving literacy levels is a must.  

Being able to read is a foundational skill that enables children to access their full curriculum – without being able to read, their life chances are stunted.” 

Mr Watkins added that the situation is worse for children who are living in “some of the poorest and conflict-affected countries.” He also urged governments and donors to “prioritise tackling the learning crisis in order to secure better futures for the world’s children.”  

Findings from the Tracker show that nearly 6 million children turn 10 each month without acquiring the basic literacy skills for their age.  

Fears for next generation 

The organisations behind the “Lost Potential Tracker” warn that without a commitment to effectively fund education for all, the world will not only fail to deliver on its education promises by 2030, but will also risk losing out on the next generation of doctors, teachers and leaders 

As part of this week’s Global Action Week for Education, these organisations are urging governments to commit at least US$5 billion for the Global Partnership for Education replenishment conference and endorse the two global targets on girls’ education set out by the UK.

28 April 2021, 16:08