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Theme: Foundational Literacy and Numeracy

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Theme: Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN)

In 2019, 57% of children in low- and middle-income countries were unable to read with understanding by age 10. By 2022, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that figure had grown to an estimated 70%—and a staggering 89% in sub-Saharan Africa (The State of Global Learning Poverty: 2022 Update: World Bank, UNICEF, FCDO, USAID, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, UNESCO).  

It has been estimated that today’s Grade 3 students could lose as much as 1.5 years’ worth of learning (or more) by the time they reach Grade 10 because of their time out of school. Too many children in low-income countries leave primary school without these basic skills, and their school systems rarely offer second chances to acquire them in higher grades

Strategies to improve FLN Provision: 

FLN serves as a gateway skill, representing a critical prerequisite for meaningful progress towards the goal of achieving SDG4 which aims to achieve quality education and lifelong learning opportunities for all. It serves as a key foundational element for twelve years of quality education (Beeharry, 2020). The Lab takes the following approach to improve FLN provision:   

Support contextually relevant innovations: Community-driven organisations are often pioneers in developing contextually relevant and cost-effective solutions, due to their strong understanding of the problem and environment. Remarkably, the non-state sector, where many of these organisations reside, is responsible for originating 86% of educational innovations.  

Encourage the use of data, evidence and evaluations: Improving MEL capacity and systems leads to better evidence of progress in improving learning and timelier adjustments to interventions. Shared data and evidence on effective, scalable solutions improve our ability to replicate successful solutions in diverse contexts.   

Focus on scalability: Successful solutions are both simple and necessitate collaboration with scale partners, including governments and other organisations, to effectively enhance learning outcomes on a large scale.