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December 2022 Foundational Literacy and Numeracy Roundup

December 2022 Foundational Literacy and Numeracy Roundup

Written by

Brett Harris, Sheba George

Published on

December 21, 2022

While the September 2022 Transforming Education Summit succeeded in raising awareness of the importance of FLN, challenges remain in terms of mobilizing finance and implementing effective programs to improve learning outcomes in education. The December 2022 Foundational Literacy and Numeracy Roundup tracks key policy developments and commitments among DAC Donors, multilaterals, and other actors through September-December of 2022.

Key developments

  • TES took place as a side event to UNGA from September 16-19, 2022, and continues to inform the education development landscape.
  • While only 30% of the National Statements of Commitment made in advance of TES mentioned FLN, analysis by the FLN Hub showed that the topic is gaining awareness and traction, as evidenced by increased usage of the term on media platforms after national Commitments to Action, led by the US, on foundational skills.
  • At the 2022 ADEA Triennale on October 19-21, 2022, Ministers of Education and Training from African countries and other stakeholders committed to education reforms and the EU pledged €1.5 billion (US$1.6 billion) for education development in African partner countries.
  • The Spotlight on basic education completion and foundational learning in Africa, 2022: born to learn report was released at the ADEA Triennale and included recommendations on
    • Increasing the quality of students’ participation by providing for basic needs, such as school meals, individual textbooks, and instruction in students’ home languages;
    • Developing plans at the national and system levels to build the capacity of educators and schools to improve the quality of FLN education; and
    • Shifting the focus of international assistance from provision of public goods to supporting foundational skill acquisition.

DAC Donor Country Updates 

  • USAID launched the LEARN to Read program in September 2022. The agency will provide US$49 million in assistance to support foundational literacy programs in students’ mother-tongues for over 3 million children from 2022-2026.
  • Canada’s IRPP published an op-ed in October 2022 urging Canada to reassess its priorities for education development spending in South Asia, highlighting the need for improved FLN outcomes.
  • In November 2022, Germany released its 2023 budget, which showed a decrease in ODA of 2% from 2022 levels. Education item lines such as contributions to GPE likewise decreased.

Multilateral Developments 

  • UNICEF provided US$18 million to launch the Sierra Leone Education Innovation Challenge, which focuses on improving foundational education outcomes in public Sierra Leonean public schools, in September 2022. The program will partner with five different providers over three years to test the impact of different teaching methods on students’ acquisition of foundational skills, with particular focus on economically disadvantaged children and girls.
  • IDP Foundation, an NGO that works with donors to inform education development projects, announced the launch of the ‘Ongoza Program’ with an initial investment of US$2 million in September 2022. The program seeks to build the capacities of educators working in non-formal— often primary— educational settings in Kenya to teach a competency-based curriculum, which prioritizes building foundational skills for practical application.
  • In October 2022, UNICEF Nigeria entered a new stage of its ‘Feed and Read’ initiative, which provides informal education to children who are not enrolled in school, and positions them to transition into formal education.
  • ECW announced a grant of US$2 million in October 2022 for educational support, such as basic reading skills, for refugees in DRC.
  • On November 14-16, 2022, in Uzbekistan, UNESCO hosted the World Conference on Early Childhood Care and Education. Key outcomes from the conference included countries’ adoption of a declaration of the right of children to ECE and a commitment from UNICEF, UNESCO, and the World Bank to publish biennial reports on ECE.
  • RTI International announced that it will partner with USAID to implement the ILOA project in November 2022. ILOA aims to evaluate and improve access to quality education in Central, South, and Southeast Asian partner countries.

Education Outlook

As 2022 comes to a close, several key events remain on the agenda for December and early 2023:

  • The UNESCO GEM Report hosted a webinar on December 6, 2022 entitled ‘Using learning trajectories to measure foundational learning‘ focusing on its 2022 ‘Spotlight on Africa’ report; and
  • The ECW High-Level Financing Conference will be held on February 16-17, 2023, in Geneva, Switzerland, and aims to mobilize financial commitments to support education in crisis situations.
Brett Harris

Brett Harris

Sheba George

Sheba George

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