Almost all 10-year-olds in world’s poorest countries struggle to read

Nine out of 10 children in the world’s poorest countries are unable to read a basic book by the age of 10 – a situation mirrored in reverse in rich countries, where only 9% cannot do so by the same age.

Data compiled by the World Bank and the UN also shows that when low- and middle-income countries are taken together – a total of 135 states – more than half of all children cannot read a simple text at 10 years old.

The World Bank is setting a new target to cut the rate of what it calls “learning poverty” by at least half before 2030, a goal it describes as “ambitious, yet achievable”.

In low- and middle-income countriesit is 53%, while in the poorest nations it is 90%.

Following the focus of the millennium development goals on getting children into school, the majority of these children are in education, but not yet completing primary school with “fundamental skills”. A further 260 million children are still not in school.

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