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Learning poverty is getting worse. What can we do about it? 

Learning poverty is getting worse. What can we do about it? 

August 17, 2023 3 min read

Learning poverty is getting worse. What can we do about it? 

Access to consistent quality education has the power to change lives for the better and set children on a path toward a bright future. It is a fundamental tool for their development and growth, and it also acts as a safeguard against injustices like poverty, violence, exploitation, and abuse.  

What is learning poverty? 

Children who can’t read and understand a short text by the age of 10 are considered to be suffering from “learning poverty”. The term refers to efforts to measure the learning progress of children in different regions and educational settings around the world.   
Learning poverty prevents people from acquiring the skills and knowledge they need to fully participate in society. Children in low-income countries are the ones who are most affected by it and often suffer from its significant lifelong impacts.  

How is it measured? 

To precisely assess the situation and measure its magnitude, which are crucial first steps toward addressing the problem, the World Bank and UNESCO’s Institute of Statistics worked together to create the concept of learning poverty and its global indicator. The learning poverty rate “measures the proportion of children who are unable to read a simple text with comprehension by age 10. The indicator takes into consideration both schooling and learning deprivation, combining the share of children whose reading proficiency level doesn’t reach the minimum and those who are out of school altogether.  

Learning poverty: a growing concern 

The data provided by the two organizations shows that the problem is not getting any better. In fact, it’s getting worse. From 2015 to 2019, global learning poverty grew from 53% to 57%. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic led to an even bigger disruption of learning and schooling, with school closures affecting the learning trajectory of children all over the world. Online learning, while making the difference for kids who had access to the internet and electronic devices to connect, wasn’t accessible for all, and unequal mitigation strategies in different regions caused an even bigger gap for kids living in the developing world. The latest data indicates that, in 2022, an estimated 70% of children in low and middle-income countries couldn’t read and understand a simple text by the end of primary school. In poor countries, the number reaches a staggering 80%. 

What can be done? 

In addition to analyzing the situation and estimating the numbers, “The State of Global Learning Poverty: 2022 Update” report also focuses on the next steps to improve the learning deterioration that has been affecting the world for years. The report proposes the RAPID framework, which aims to ensure that children everywhere can learn fundamental skills, benefit from efficient instruction, and develop socially and psychologically in addition to educationally. This guide was created as an action plan for local authorities to recover and accelerate learning, underlining the most cost-effective approaches for all countries to reach a minimum standard.  

Moving toward a better outlook of educational equality is only possible when national and international organizations and all members of society contribute to learning recovery through concrete action. To do our part, Ria is partnering with Save the Children and, among other yearly collaborations with the NGO, is funding two early-childhood education projects in Mexico and the Philippines.  

The impact of remittances on education 

At Ria, commitment to our communities and society is a core part of who we are and what we do. Through our service, people can send funds to their loved ones and help them build the life they dream of. 

Many families heavily rely on remittances to support their children’s studies and help them shape their future. In our most recent report, we cover how remittances significantly increase education expenditure in low and middle-income countries and contribute to the reduction of child labor and, consequently, increase children’s school attendance.

In the end, a little extra money can truly make a life-changing difference for children and their families. 

Learn more about remittances and their impactful effects on society on our report “Remittances: Growth in the Face of Global Challenges”.

For more info: comms@riamoneytransfer.com

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