World Vision's Education and Life Skills goal is to contribute to improved learning outcomes for children with equitable access to education opportunities.
The initial focus is on increasing the percentage of children who can read by age 11. This is the age when children should normally have finished primary school, depending on the context.
A child is functionally literate if she can read and apply that to improving her life and the life of her community. Children may be enrolled in and attending school, but may not be learning to read functionally. Reading out loud is a powerful yet simple way to test educational outcomes. If children can read with fluency and comprehension, they will be able to learn about other subjects.
World Vision uses a life-cycle approach in our programmes that focuses on the needs of three age groups (early childhood, school age and adolescence). This approach to education aligns with the global commitment to the Education for All (Dakar, 2000) goals. This calls for 'all children receiving, at a minimum, recognised and measurable levels of reading, basic mathematics and the most essential life skills'. See the Development Across the Life Cycle Approach diagram.
To achieve this goal, World Vision works with community members and local partners to ensure effective teaching practices, to build the capacity of volunteers and to provide learning materials for children appropriate for their age and language.
Through initiatives such as Spark a Child’s Digital Future, World Vision is also working with corporations to use information and communications technology to improve education outcomes. This initiative unites World Vision, the British Council, Microsoft and Intel to improve digital access and education for African students.
“In our development work we know that education is a key building block for a child’s future. It’s one of our Child Well-Being Aspirations, and it’s rightly there. We have recently taken significant steps forward in measuring the outcomes of our educational interventions, rather than simply counting the number of children in school.”– Kevin Jenkins, World Vision International President)
In Mali, Pakistan and Peru, more than 70 per cent of children in primary grades cannot read at grade level (UNESCO Global Monitoring Report).
In sub-Saharan Africa, a child with five years of education has a 40 percent chance of being illiterate (UNESCO Global Monitoring Report).
Nearly one in five of the world’s adults are illiterate – 84 percent of these adults live in 35 low-income countries (USAID All Children Reading).