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The World Literacy Foundation has urged leaders of governments and education to pledge support for the new Oxford Declaration announced at the World Literacy Summit in Oxford, United Kingdom. Over 250 delegates from 60 countries contributed to the Oxford Declaration at the World Literacy Summit.
The CEO of the World Literacy Foundation Andrew Kay said, “We have created a pathway whose main purpose is to eradicate illiteracy by the year 2020.
The Declaration requires commitment and investment from the global community on five key priority areas. These priority areas include: development of leadership in the literacy sector, quality of education, targeted advocacy, improved measurements of learning outcomes and evidence based strategies.
Kay issued a plea to governments and the community to be pro-active in achieving the goals of the Oxford Declaration.
“Illiteracy is linked to many poor life outcomes, such as poverty, unemployment, social exclusion, crime, long-term illness, lost productivity in business and reduced income earning capacity in a job. The Oxford Declaration embodies our commitment to achieving literacy through quality education. This in turn will help build the economic and social capital of all countries,” he said.
“It is obvious the Millennium Development Goals for education and literacy will not be met by the 2015 deadline. Although some progress has been made, we need to take more decisive action. About one in five people across the world are functionally illiterate. This shocking statistic means their literacy skills are so poor that they cannot complete tasks such as reading a medicine or food label or filling out a job or bank loan application,” the World Literacy Foundation CEO noted.
In conclusion Kay said that illiteracy needs to be treated as a disease that we are aiming to eradicate. “We need to understand that early intervention can avert a lifetime of hardship, poverty and pain for a child, young person or adult who is struggling to read or write.”