Back-to-school: Good grades, bad grades for global education

- Tuesday is International Literacy Day -

MISSISSAUGA, ON, Sept. 7, 2015 /CNW/ - While curriculum and classroom size are top of mind for Canadian parents and teachers, soaring school enrolment in developing countries is straining the capacity of education systems. Since 2000 great strides have been made towards universal education for children, however, this progress is posing challenges for poorer nations to provide quality learning for children, says aid agency World Vision, which works in approximately 100 developing countries.

Good grades

  • The primary school net enrolment rate in developing regions has reached 91% in 2015, up from 83% in 2000.
  • The number of out-of-school children of primary school age worldwide has fallen by almost half, to an estimated 57 million in 2015, down from 100 million in 2000.
  • The literacy rate among youth aged 15 to 24 has increased globally from 83% to 91% between 1990 and 2015.

Bad grades

  • Globally, 250 million children – including many of the most vulnerable – are not learning basic literacy and numeracy skills even though half have attended school for at least four years.
  • Half of the out-of-school children live in countries affected by conflicts and war.

"Class sizes in the world's poorest regions are often so large that teachers can't possibly focus on individual students. It's common to see 50-70 students in a classroom with just one teacher. These children learn to sit relatively still and quiet so as to hear the lesson, but there is absolutely no chance for interactive learning, asking questions, offering comments, or reading out loud for the teacher," says Nancy Del Col, Education Specialist, World Vision Canada.

"We must ensure that children are not only in school but are learning when they get there. Governments, communities, teachers and parents must work together to create a culture of literacy inside and outside the classroom. This is possible with more emphasis on training teachers and providing after-school reading support for children," says Linda Hiebert, Senior Director, Education and Life Skills, World Vision.

"Global leaders must refocus on the role of education in poverty reduction. Literacy unlocks human potential and is the cornerstone of development. It leads to better health, better employment opportunities, and safer and more stable societies. Developing literacy skills in the early years is crucial to a child's success in school and later in life," says Linda Hiebert, Senior Director, Education and Life Skills, World Vision.

"We're still not educating the most vulnerable children. We must continue to remind leaders that children in conflict-affected states, girls, children with disabilities, and other marginalised groups must be prioritised in the new post-2015 framework," says Linda Hiebert, Senior Director, Education and Life Skills, World Vision.

International Literacy Day
Tuesday (September 8) is UNESCO International Literacy Day, which recognizes literacy as a human right. This year's focus is the critical link between literacy and the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to be adopted later this month at the United Nations.  A new SDG to "ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning" will set the international agenda for progress on education for next 15 years.

World Vision's Work
World Vision works to ensure:

  • Teachers know how to make learning effective and fun
  • Parents are equipped to help their children learn in the home
  • Community volunteers are trained to host after-school activities
  • Whole communities get the opportunity to create learning materials for children that reflect their traditions, values and language

Field Stories

Download Photos -

World Vision is a Christian relief, development, and advocacy organization working to create lasting change in the lives of children, families, and communities to overcome poverty and injustice. Inspired by our Christian values, World Vision is dedicated to working with the world's most vulnerable people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. Visit our News Centre at

SOURCE World Vision Canada

Image with caption: "School enrollment has increased globally, but class sizes in the poorest regions are often so large that teachers can't possibly focus on individual children, warns aid agency World Vision. It's one reason why 250 million children are still not learning basic literacy skills, especially girls, children with disabilities, and those living in conflict zones. Photo credit: Tiatemjen Jamir / World Vision (CNW Group/World Vision Canada)". Image available at:

For further information: Britt Hamilton - 416-419-1321 or


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