Why Do We Need Adult Education and Literacy Programs?
Adult education and literacy programs are essential to community and individual development. Incredible progress in literacy rates worldwide has been made since 1975, with a male global literacy rate of 90 percent and a female global rate of 83 percent. But with 7 billion humans on the planet, that still leaves nearly 2 billion people who cannot read or write, and nearly half of those people live in South Asia.1 The inability of these men and women to work skilled jobs that require reading and writing likely renders them slaves to poverty, and it causes their local and national economies to suffer.
These literacy rates disproportionately affect girls and women. According to one study,
“Approximately one-third of South Asian girls do not attend school and in some regions only one in four girls attend primary school.”2
A long cultural history of bias against women is starting to lift, but efforts will need support from many organizations and communities to succeed. It benefits a society to have women educated and engaged in the economy.
Jo Bourne for the Global Partnership for Education writes,
“An educated girl is likely to increase her personal earning potential, as well as reduce poverty in her community. According to the World Bank, the return on one year of secondary education for a girl correlates with as high as a 25 percent increase in wages later in life.”3
For every adult woman who cannot read or write, the community at large suffers the immediate effects and her country does not have her earning—and therefore, spending—potential as a contributor to society.
This is one of the reasons GFA World is committed to women’s literacy programs. It’s been proven that literacy is one of top ways to fight poverty.4 It’s also the key to breaking generational illiteracy. By giving to GFA World’s literacy program, you are giving a woman the chance to escape the cycles of poverty and illiteracy.
In addition to this gift of freedom, you are also enabling her to read about the truest form of freedom found in Christ. Being able to read God’s Word for yourself increases a person’s spiritual maturity and faith. This kind of access to begins with knowing how to read.
1 “Literacy rate, adult female (% of females ages 15 and above) – South Asia.” The World Bank. September 2021. https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SE.ADT.LITR.FE.ZS?locations=8S.
2 Sheikh, Saba M. and Loney, Tom. “Is Educating Girls the Best Investment for South Asia? Association Between Female Education and Fertility Choices in South Asia: A Systematic Review of the Literature.” National Institute of Health. July 13, 2018. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30057895/.
3 Bourne, Jo. “Why Educating Girls Makes Economic Sense.” Global Partnership for Education. March 6, 2014. https://www.globalpartnership.org/blog/why-educating-girls-makes-economic-sense.
4 Steasser, Daniel. “The Benefits of Literacy: Five Ways Literacy Fights Poverty.” The Borgen Project. May 5, 2018. https://borgenproject.org/the-benefits-of-literacy-5-ways-literacy-fights-poverty/.