Google Launches Endangered Language Project

The web behemoth, Google, knows that knowledge is power, and as the world’s largest purveyor of information, Google has risen to the opportunity to use its power for good in an attempt to salvage the world views that become obsolete when languages die.

Some have raised the question about the stake Google has in preserving the world’s languages. The company, which has in the past been criticized for spreading itself too thin, reiterates that Google is in the business of knowledge sharing. The Endangered Languages Project website states: “With every language that dies we lose an enormous cultural heritage; the understanding of how humans relate to the world around us; scientific, medical and botanical knowledge; and most importantly, we lose the expression of communities’ humor, love and life. In short, we lose the testimony of centuries of life.”

The Endangered Languages Project is accessed on a dynamic and interactive website that displays a map of the world freckled with different colored dots, each of which represents the location of a language at-risk. Each color represents the severity of endangerment that the language faces, and includes some languages that are already extinct. Users can click a dot to reveal the name of the language, and then click on the name to be redirected to a page about the language of interest including uploaded videos, papers, and information about the language and its living speakers. Anyone can upload and share information and documentation of the over 3,000 languages available on the Project’s website.

The main objective of the Project is to foster the preservation of rare languages while creating a space through which linguists, native speakers, and language learners across the globe get in contact and work together. This is very clear in the Endangered Languages Project forum. Any user can create a thread dedicated to any language and connect with other interested internauts from around the globe. Deterritorialized speakers of endangered languages can reach out to others regardless of their geographical location.

The Endangered Languages Project is overseen by the newly created Alliance for Linguistic Diversity, which is made up of various institutions of language preservations, university departments, and indigenous language projects. The Alliance is accepting applications from organizations that would like to be a part of the Project.


Bilingual Reading over the Summer

The Read Conmigo bilingual literacy campaign has announced an initiative to help prevent children’s summer reading skill loss. Read Conmigo has created a list of summer reading tips for families:

1.   Make sharing books together a consistent part of your family fun this summer.
2.   Set a good example by reading your own books in front of your children.
3.   Create a summer reading list with your child. Many schools and libraries offer lists by grade level.
4.   Read aloud to your child, and have them read aloud back to you.
5.   Let your child select books and topics that are especially of interest to them.
6.   Read and discuss books about your planned summer activities (camping, swimming, sports).
7.   Pack books and take them along on summer trips and outings together.
8.   Encourage your child to keep a “Summer Reading Journal” and write about the books they read.
9.   Praise your child upon completion of a reading assignment or a reading challenge during the summer.
10. Share your favorite books from your own childhood with your kids.

How does Read Conmigo help? “Many Hispanic parents who don’t read English fluently hesitate to read to their children at home. However, studies show that bilingual reading is equally effective at maintaining and improving reading skills and educational levels,” said Alberto M. Carvalho, Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools. “Read Conmigo is an exemplary corporate initiative that provides valuable resources to parents and teachers on the frontlines.” The Read Conmigo campaign has distributed more than 200,000 free bilingual reading books given to parents, children, teachers and schools across America.  A complete list of reading tips and resources for parents will be available and updated regularly during the summer at

Parents participating in the Read Conmigo Summer Reading Academy can register their children online for the summer’s “Create a Story” contest at, to win a Kindle Fire for their home (and the chance to have their winning manuscript published as a Read Conmigo book). A jury will select contest winners in August, right before back-to-school. The free Read Conmigo Summer Reading Kit is available at select Infinity Auto Insurance locations all summer long (visit for locations).


El Día E

Tomorrow, the Instituto Cervantes will celebrate the fourth annual Día E (Español) in its 77 centers in 44 countries spread across all five continents.  The fiesta will start in Sydney and then continue worldwide.

To find out what’s happening at your local Cervantes Institute (inc. New York, Albuquerque, Boston, Chicago and Seattle), visit

The party celebrates the good health of the Spanish language which is spoken by 500 million people.

World Refugee Day

Language educators are well aware of the struggle facing refugees. But, take the time to spread the word about the plight of refugees around the world to all the people you know.

Today, 43.7 million men, women and children are displaced from their homes around the world.

The UN Refugee Agency provides shelter, clean water, nutritious food, medical care and education opportunities for refugees and displaced people around the world; caring for 35.4 million people in desperate need.

For more information on ways to increase awareness,

visit the UN Refugee Agency website


State Dept Chooses Kindle for Worldwide English

In an effort to promote English literacy around the world, the U.S. Department of State is planning to purchase up to 35,000 Kindle e-readers as well as selected content. The Kindles would be distributed to U.S.-friendly educational centers around the world so as to be available to those looking to study English and learn about America.The State Department has long sent out books to its overseas embassies for English language programs, but now it wants to replace physical books with e-readers — and it has its sights set on the Kindle. In a Justification and Approval notice filed on June 7th, the Department proposed a five-year contract with Amazon, which is estimated to be worth more than $16 million, including an initial order of 2,500 Kindles loaded with 50 unspecified books.

The e-reader contract was not open for bidding as the State Department went directly to Amazon. Kindle was reportedly selected because of features such as foreign language support, a built-in English dictionary, and the ability to translate text to speech. Based on the lengthy list of requirements, it appears that the Kindle Touch is the only device on the market that suits. The Department specifically listed the iPad as an unsuitable option because it presents “unacceptable security and usability risks for the government’s needs in this particular project” due to its additional features. Previous programs, such as Worldreader’s efforts in Ghana, have found that children in developing countries are able to learn how to use Kindles very quickly.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos will announce the global launch of the Kindle Mobile Learning Initiative on June 20 in Washington, D.C. This public-private partnership with and the U.S. government will create a global e-reader program that introduces aspects of U.S. society and culture directly to young people, students, and international audiences in new ways while expanding English language learning opportunities worldwide.


Roth Wins Spanish Literary Award

In another example of literary globalization, American writer Philip Roth has been awarded Spain’s prestigious Prince of Asturias literature award (El Premio Príncipe de Asturias de las Letras). The 79-year-old author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel American Pastoral edged out 23 other contenders to take the 50,000-Euro prize.

Born in New Jersey in 1933, Roth had his first book Goodbye, Columbus, a collection of stories about Jewish life in America, published in 1959, and it immediately won him literary prestige in the U.S.

The Spanish awards, named after Crown Prince Felipe, are presented in the city of Oviedo, capital of the northern Asturias region, in a star-studded ceremony that will be broadcast live on Spanish television.

Winners also receive a sculpture designed by the Catalan artist Joan Miró.

French Heritage Summer Camp 2012, c’est parti!

This year the French Heritage Language Program will be giving 20 disadvantaged French-speaking high school students from the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn the chance to discover a Francophone country in America by organizing a summer camp in Québec from July 2nd -12th. Activities will include the Global Forum of the French language organized by the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), cultural and historical museum visits, guided tours of Montréal and Québec City, the Assemblée Nationale du Québec, French music concerts, and visits of major universities. The cost of this educational trip is estimated at $1,500 per student but registration fees will be capped at $150 per student in order to respond to financial capacities (some partner schools are even paying for this small student contribution).

Although the program has already received strong support from the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie and other partner foundations, they need another $3,000 to close the budget and make sure all 20 kids will fully benefit from all that this camp has to offer. In order to help them reach that goal they have just launched a crowdfunding campaign thanks to the website

Take a look and join the project at : 

Federal Report Supports Bilingual Education

The Department of Education has published a new literature review that consolidates the findings of over 200 articles, reports, and books that pertain to language instruction. The review, “Language Instruction Educational Programs (LIEPs): A Review of the Foundational Literature,” was conducted by edCount and examines the research literature on a range of topics that may factor into LIEP design and function, in order to support school districts in their decisions about how to choose appropriate LIEPs for their students’ needs.

The review focuses on six primary research areas and explores how they can be applied in the LIEP classroom. These areas are: theories of second-language acquisition; the construct of academic English language; models and considerations for LIEP design; instructional practices and professional development; school district, school and community culture; and indicators and evaluation of success.

The general findings of the review show that ELLs who have some kind of language support or specialized instruction perform better than those who do not, although no single approach to specialized instruction, whether bilingual or ESL, is successful with all ELLs at all times. The review points to the need for special attention to newcomers, or recently arrived immigrants who may have had interrupted or no prior formal schooling. Secondary schools especially need differentiated support for newcomers.

The review supported bilingual approaches, citing two meta-analytic research syntheses, and one large-scale descriptive study that found that students who receive native language instruction go on to reach the same or higher levels of achievement in English as those who do not. These syntheses also found that native language skills play a positive role in the development and acquisition of English language skills. One descriptive study also found evidence of transfer of academic language skills from students’ native language to English.

In looking at the outcomes of an ESL approach, there is evidence that ESL models (language- or content-based) are likely to produce better outcomes on various academic performance measures than general instruction in English that does not follow an ESL model or acknowledge ELLs’ specific linguistic needs. Models under the ESL approach may focus on language instruction alone, or they may integrate language and content instruction. The review notes that experts agree (that the strongest programs include both dedicated language instruction and specialized content instruction.

The review reports on twelve emergent themes that summarize edCount’s overall findings:

1. High standards and challenging content are good for ELLs.

2. Having a LIEP Is important.

3. No one approach or model is appropriate for all ELLs.

4. Instructional practices are important variables in LIEP design and implementation.

5. Literacy and oral language development in English are critical instructional components for any LIEP.

6. Academic language seems to be important in ELL instruction.

7. ELLs need instruction that is specifically cognizant of their needs as second-language learners.

8. Teachers need to be prepared to teach ELLs.

9. Newcomer models are a programmatic option that school districts may use to meet the needs of identified ELLs at the secondary level.

10. ELLs’ scores on academic content assessments should be interpreted with great care.

11.Current assessments may not be sufficient measures of the linguistic proficiency necessary to support success in mainstream content classrooms.

12. Culture and community matter.

For more, visit


 Swiss Get Practical

<h3>Immigrant language program focuses on daily verbal challenges</h3>
<strong>The Swiss Migration Office has launched a language training system </strong>specifically defined around the integration needs of migrants. The program will be gradually introduced in collaboration with the cantons this summer.

“FIDE – learn, teach and assess French, Italian and German in Switzerland” is the training system will become the national immigrant language training program.
Its focus will be on giving immigrants the language competence needed to undertake such ordinary tasks such as consulting a doctor or attending parent-teacher meetings.
“Mastering the language is an essential condition for successful integration. Anyone who wishes to get around successfully in the country they have chosen to live in must be able to understand what is going on around them and to make themselves understood,” Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga said in a statement.
“The objective is not to pass an abstract written test, but to be able to cope with daily challenges. So FIDE is suitable even for people who have no schooling or little formal training.”
The language training system was developed in collaboration with the Institute of Multilingualism at Fribourg University and designed on the basis of a survey of more than 300 immigrants and professionals from all walks of Swiss life. It is based on the common European framework of reference for languages (CEFR) and adapted to the specific needs of Switzerland, where the situation is complicated by the fact not only that it has four national languages, but that the spoken and the written language can differ considerably, especially in German-speaking areas.


Technology Rescuing Sanskrit

Developing new grammar software. Rallying a Wikipedia community. Preparing for new seminars and workshops. These are just a few of the actions taken to ensure that Sanskrit, one of the original tongues of India, continues to exist. A group of scholars and students are working to make sure the language does not suffer the same fate as ancient Greek or Latin.

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Without the study of Sanskrit, one cannot become a true learned man.” German philologist Max Muller added, “Sanskrit is the greatest language of the world.”

Sanskrit has been aided by new technological resources and is more popular than it ever has been. “There is no other language, which is being supported so thoroughly and comprehensively, not just in Gurgaon, but in other parts of the country too,” said Dr Shreyansh Dwivedi, a member of the department of Sanskrit in SCERT, Gurgaon, in an article by the Times of India.

Officials of schools such as the Haryana Sanskrit Academy believe that younger students demonstrate an interest in the dialect and are more likely to obtain language degrees in Sanskrit.

“Earlier this month the Delhi Sanskrit Academy held a one-day workshop, where hundreds of young people turned up. It’s only a matter of making the language accessible, and Sanskrit will find many takers within no time,” a representative of the academy told the Times of India.

In an effort to ensure that India’s other indigenous languages survive, Wishtel, a Mumbai-based company, last month launched two tablet PCs, Ira and Ira Thing, which support 23 Indian languages.

The seven-inch portable devices run on Taiwanese chipmaker VIA Technology’s 800 MHz processor and operate on the Google Android ecosystem. While Ira sports a TFT LCD resistive touch screen, 256 MB RAM and 2GB of storage, the top-of-line Ira Thing features a capacitive touch screen, 215 MB RAM with 4 GB of storage. They are priced at Rs. 4,000 ($78) and Rs.5,500 ($107) respectively.

Users will not only be able to see the menu options in their regional language, they will also be able to type and view regional language content. Native Apps also includes an eBook reader that will allow users to read content in Hindi and other languages.

Wishtel is offering the first tablets to educational institutions. The company is running trials on a proprietary content delivery network, through which it hopes to deliver educational content, including digital textbooks and multimedia.

The low-price tablet segment is booming in India ever since the government announced the Aakash Tablet in October 2011. Ira was designed to  the specifications of the Indian Institute of Technology Rajasthan, as part of a low-cost computing devices project. They are made in the Indian provinces of Maharashtra and Gujarat.


New French Prime Minister Speaks German

In a revealing move, the new French President, François Hollande, has appointed a German-speaking Prime Minister.

Jean-Marc Ayrault, a self-confessed Germanophile, will be the new President’s right-hand man and is likely to be instrumental in forging good relations with German Chancellor Angela Merkel as France seeks support for M. Hollande’s proposed shift away from austere economic policies.

The announced the choice Tuesday afternoon, hours after Hollande was sworn in. The 62-year-old Ayrault succeeds conservative Francois Fillon as the head of government.

$100,000 to Improve Chinese Instruction

Last year, Claudia Ross, immediate past president of the Chinese Language Teachers Association (CLTA), began designing a program to help expand the resources available to Chinese language teachers across America. This summer, after more than a year of planning, Ross and Baozhang He, associate professor of Chinese, in conjunction with CLTA, are ready to launch this initiative.

The 10-day residential workshop, titled “Read On: Training Modules for Literacy in Chinese,” will be held between July 24 and August 4 on the Holy Cross campus. Backed by a $100,000 grant from the federally funded STARTALK 2012 initiative, the program will bring together 16 master teachers of the Chinese language from around the nation.

Over the course of the program, experts in child development and instructors representing grades K-5, 6-8, 9-12, and 13-16 will develop web-based material to be used in Chinese language teacher training programs nationwide.

The workshop’s primary focus will be enhancing literacy among Chinese language students, and the materials developed during the 10-day session will target character recognition and production, and reading comprehension.

“Chinese literacy issues are very complicated because Chinese literacy requires both reading skills and character recognition, says Ross. “Alphabetic languages, including English, and also Russian and Greek, are written using twenty or so letters. But Chinese is written in characters, and there are thousands of characters. You have to learn several thousand characters in order to be able to read basic stories in the newspaper.”

The ability to recognize characters is only part of literacy, however, as students of Chinese then must learn how to read and interpret the characters in a text. The traditional curriculum for teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language focuses on character recognition, typically without providing strategies for efficient memorization, and spends little time on reading strategies. The Read On project aims to address both of these problems.

“There has been little attention to developing and identifying the best practices in teaching people how to read and master characters,” Ross says of the current Chinese language educational landscape. “We are the only STARTALK site that’s doing this kind of work.”

Created by the National Security Language Initiative, STARTALK aims to expand and improve the teaching and learning of strategically important world languages that are not now widely taught in the United States.

The Read On workshop will include lectures and discussion about literacy acquisition and child development, as well as instruction and support in the use of computer-based learning technologies.

Instructors from all four age groups will work as one team for discussion and training sessions to tackle topics like literacy, character storage in the human brain, and software development and usage. The team will also divide into smaller groups to focus on age-specific materials.

Language Education an Election Issue in Australia

In stark contrast to American electoral agendas, Australian opposition leader Tony Abbott has announced that at least 40 per cent of Grade 12 students will be studying a language other than English and pre-schoolers will be exposed to foreign languages under a coalition federal government in his reply to the incumbent Labor Party’s 2012/13 budget.

The target was to increase knowledge of key languages used by regional partners within a decade, Mr Abbott said. “Indonesia is a vital partner in Australia’s long-term future and on current trends Indonesian will disappear from Year 12 studies within four years,” Mr Abbott said in a joint statement with his deputy Julie Bishop and education spokesman Christopher Pyne.

Australian schools are only producing a handful of Chinese, Japanese and Korean speakers even though they are the language sof their top trading partners.

“Similarly Australia’s relationship with India is of growing importance and the Australian-Indian community numbers more than 300,000,” Mr Abbott said.

“But there has been a steady decline in the study of Hindi in Australia – for example in 2010 only 16 students sat the NSW HSC in Hindi. If Australians wanted to make their way in the world, they could not rely on other people speaking their language,” Abbott continued.

“The coalition believes that starting in pre-school every student should have an exposure to foreign languages. We will urgently work with the states to ensure that the Australian workforce of the future can grasp the full opportunity of the Asian century,” concluded Abbott.

$24.4 Million for  EL Teacher Training Programs

The U.S. Department of Education today announced the award of nearly $24.4 million for 73 grants to improve instruction for English learners. Located in 28 states and the District of Columbia, the grants support a variety of professional development activities for teachers and other educational personnel who work in elementary and secondary school classrooms with English learners.

Grants are awarded to institutions of higher education that partner with one or more local school districts or state education agencies. All grants are for five years in duration with the exception of the grant to Columbia University’s Teachers’ College, which is a three-year grant. The majority of these grants include professional development for science and math teachers of English learners.

“These funds will help upgrade the content and instructional skills of new and veteran teachers working with English learners, as well provide career ladder programs for paraprofessionals,” said Rosalinda B. Barrera, assistant deputy secretary and director of the Office of English Language Acquisition. “It’s critical for our English learners to have access to high-quality instruction in all subjects that will prepare them for success in college, the workplace and our global economy.”



Korean Government Revamps its Language Learning Site

Korea’s Culture Ministry has launched an updated version of its online Korean language learning center to promote globalization of the language, according to government officials.
The website ( operated by the state-run King Sejong Institute is now available in eight different languages, including Russian and Indonesian. The institute named after King Sejong of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), who invented Hangeul, the Korean writing system, has been providing Korean language education programs online in six languages, including Chinese, English and Vietnamese.

“By expanding online services, we expect to see more people in other parts of the world getting the chance to learn both the Korean language and culture,” a ministry official said.

The improved website offers interactive and customized contents in order to help learners communicate with Korean instructors in real time. It will also begin to operate archives containing a wide range of multimedia contents and information on Korean language and culture.


Australia failing on Asian languages – Former PM

In his first major speech since quitting as foreign minister and launching an unsuccessful leadership challenge against  current PM Julia Gillard in February, Australia’s Chinese-speaking former PM Kevin Rudd has repeated his criticism of the country’s lack of proficiency in Asian languages.

Rudd argues that Australia has to reverse declining student enrollments in Asian languages “if we are to secure our future in this century of the Asia-Pacific”. He cited statistics showing a decline in schools teaching Chinese, Japanese, and Indonesian. “We need to get to the bottom of why that is the case,” Mr Rudd said in a speech at Melbourne University. “I’m not remotely interested in the traditional blame game of blaming one level of government or the other: state education bureaucracies or teachers; academic institutions or the business community. We all need a clearer handle on what is to be done.”
Rudd went on to argue that without Asian fluency much is lost in translatio, “There is a grave danger that individuals, corporations and nations simply talk past each other thinking that they are talking about the same concept, when in fact that may only be partly the case.”

“It is infinitely easier to build a personal relationship with someone from another culture if you are able to speak their language,” he observed, while lamenting the lack of  Australians at elite tertiary institutions in Asia.

His youngest son, Marcus, is undertaking a gap year at Peking University, “studying Chinese full-time and hopefully acquiring a Confucian work ethic on the way through,” Mr Rudd joked.

2012 WISE Awards Seek Groundbreaking Projects in Education for $20,000 Prizes

Representatives of original and pioneering initiatives in education are invited to apply for the 2012 WISE Awards which will be presented to six successful projects at the 2012 WISE Summit, November 13-15, in Doha, Qatar.

Now in their 4th year, the WISE Awards recognize and spotlight innovative educational projects from around the world, and from all educational sectors, which have had a transformative impact upon education and society. Applications are open from April 1 to May 31, 2012.

The winning projects will be showcased at the annual WISE Summit and will benefit from substantial media visibility, helping promote their achievements and developments. They will each also be given $20,000 (US). The theme of the WISE Awards 2012 is “Transforming Education”.  

One of the 2012 WISE Awards will be for a project that has best delivered innovative financing of primary education. This reflects the support of Qatar Foundation Chairperson Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser for the United Nations Millennium Development Goal 2 on achieving universal primary education and it is designed to stimulate innovative projects targeted at achieving MDG 2.

A panel will examine the applications and 24 finalists will be announced in July. A Jury of leading educational experts will then select the six most innovative projects. The Winners of the WISE Awards 2012 will be announced in September.

The closing date for applications is May 31. To submit a project for the WISE Awards or for further information about WISE and the WISE Awards, visit




Free Spanish Classic eBooks from Kindle en Español, Inc. has launched “eBooks Kindle en Español” with more than 30,000 titles in total of which more than a thousand are free classics in Spanish. The service includes additional features specially implemented for U.S. Spanish-speaking customers such as extensive help pages, and phone and email customer support in Spanish. U.S. customers can now shop for Spanish-language books in the new store on or set any Kindle device to access a customized shopping experience designed for books in Spanish.

In addition, the new Kindle and many free Kindle reading apps can be easily customized for complete Spanish-language reading and navigation, including popular highlights and other social features. While currently aimed at U.S. customers, Russ Grandinetti, vice president, Kindle Content stated, “We’re looking forward to continued expansion of our store for Spanish language readers around the world.”

eBooks Kindle en Español includes the following.

  • All of the Spanish-language Nielsen best sellers available as ebooks in the U.S., and 65 of the top 100 Spanish-language print best sellers from
  • The largest representation of Mexican authors, including Jose Emilio Pacheco, Carlos Monsivais, and Sergio Pitol
  • Kindle Singles in Spanish, including Singles by best-selling authors Kurt Vonnegut and Susan Orlean
  • An exclusive selection of Dora the Explorer and Go Diego Go books in Spanish
  • Compilations of articles from “El Pais,” including exclusive pieces from Mexican journalists writing about Mexican current affairs
  • Subscriptions to 14 leading Latin American newspapers such as El Universal and La Nacion
  • Popular English-language books translated into Spanish, such as the Hunger Games series, the Twilight series, Steve Jobs, The Help, and books by authors Stephen King, Nora Roberts, and Joel Osteen



U.S. urged to support a new action plan to wipe out illiteracy by 2020

The World Literacy Foundation (WLF) has urged the U.S. to pledge support for the new Oxford Declaration, which aims to eradicate illiteracy by the year 2020.

WLF CEO, Andrew Kay says: “We have created a pathway targeted to eradicate illiteracy by the year 2020. The clear evidence says
if you want to reduce poverty then address illiteracy.”

Over 250 delegates from 60 countries contributed to the Oxford Declaration at the World Literacy Summit in Oxford, United Kingdom,
last week. The Declaration defines literacy as ability in reading, writing, numeracy, digital technology, speaking and listening.

It requires commitment and investment from the U.S. on five key priority areas. These 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 the U.S. government and leaders in education to be proactive in achieving the goals of the Oxford Declaration. “No matter whether you live in the developed or developing world, poor literacy is ruining lives. Illiteracy is linked with 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,” he said.

“The Oxford Declaration embodies our commitment to achieving literacy through quality education. We intend to break the cycle of poverty caused by illiteracy. This in turn will help build the economic and social capital of all countries including the U.S.”

Kay claims the Oxford Declaration comes at a critical time. “It is obvious the Millennium Development Goals for education and literacy
will not be met by the 2015 deadline. It is obvious the Education For All Goals will not be met. Although some progress has been made, we need to take more decisive action.”

“It is crucial that the U.S. plays its part in providing leadership, finances and resources as part of this global effort to eliminate literacy by the close of this decade. This means fighting illiteracy needs to be moved much higher on the agenda for government, education and community leaders in the country.”

“We need to treat illiteracy 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,” Kay continued.

The Oxford Declaration focuses on five key areas including:

1. Leadership at the local, national and global levels, engaging champions from all sectors – both government and non-government – to affect quality education and literacy for all. These efforts must include the collaboration of education ministers of every country.

2. Increased and more effective financing for quality education programs through partnership within the donor community and between sectors, including governments, foundations, corporations and bilateral organizations to support the literacy agenda as part of a broader global compact on learning.

3. Targeted advocacy to ensure that literacy is part of the broader education policy discussions.

4. Improved measurement of learning outcomes, including participation in the broader global learning metrics discussion aiming to integrate learning standards into the post-2015 global development agenda. This measurement must be incorporated into cycles of both local immediate feedback and global investigative research.

5. A strong evidence base for why universal literacy is fundamental to an individual’s and country’s success and evidence on strategies and best practices that are having the greatest effect.

A full copy of the World Literacy Summit’s Oxford Declaration can be downloaded from