Posted on Aug 31, 2019
Basic education and literacy is one of The Rotary Foundation’s six areas of focus. We know that basic education and literacy are essential for reducing poverty, improving health, encouraging community and economic development, and promoting peace. The month of September annually emphasizes this focus.

Consider these facts:

  • If all women completed primary education, there would be 66% fewer maternal deaths.

  • A child born to a mother who can read is 50% more likely to survive past the age of five.

  • If all students in low-income countries left school with basic reading skills, 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty, which would be equivalent to a 12% cut in world poverty.

The world is making good progress in this area. According to a 2014 United Nations Millennium Development Goals progress report, literacy rates among adults and youths are on the rise and the gender gap in literacy is narrowing. But pressing global needs remain, including the following:

  • 58 million children worldwide are out of school.

  • Even after four years of primary schooling, as many as 250 million children cannot read and write.

  • More than 775 million people over the age of 15 are illiterate. That equates to 17% of the world's population.

Rotary supports activities and training to improve education for all children and literacy for children and adults. 

Area of Focus Statement of Purpose and Goals:

The Rotary Foundation enables Rotarians to ensure that all people have sustainable access to basic education and literacy by . . .

  • Involving the community to support programs that strengthen the capacity of communities to provide basic education and literacy to all;

  • Increasing adult literacy in communities;

  • Working to reduce gender disparity in education; 

  • Supporting studies for career-minded professionals related to basic education and literacy.