Why kids around the world can’t read [Article]

This western-world view at why kids in developing countries can’t read.

Of the world’s population, about 7 out of 10 live in a country where pretty much every child completes primary school. The proportion of secondary-school-aged kids who are in classes has climbed from about half to two-thirds over the past 15 years. The trouble is, a lot of those enrolled appear to be learning very little. In India only a little more than a quarter of the children who complete primary school can read a simple passage, perform division, tell time, and handle money—all skills that should be mastered by the end of second grade. And while eighth-grade enrollment increased to 87 percent from 82 percent of school-aged children in the country from 2006 to 2011, the fraction of enrolled children who could do long division fell to 57 percent from 70 percent—suggesting that despite more of them going to school, fewer kids actually learned basic math over that time.

Sure, but what about access to food, electricity, rest/sleep, books, teachers, housing etc.. ? Realities on the ground don’t usually make their way into these explanations – the pat answer from most armchair economists seems to be “if you can’t afford it, don’t have kids”.

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