An Open Letter on Literacy to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau


A letter to Canada’s new Prime Minister about the nation’s pressing illiteracy issue.

It’s so refreshing to have a Prime Minister who loves and celebrates books. But think about the huge percentage of people you now lead for whom basic reading and writing is a struggle. And the numbers get progressively worse when we look at things like health literacy; some studies suggest 55% of Canadian adults are unable to understand the information their doctors tell them (88% of seniors are in this position). The lowest rates of literacy are found in impoverished communities, including new Canadians and First Nations.

Mr. Trudeau, I know you’ll agree with me that this just isn’t good enough.

Read the full text of the letter on Bookriot here: An Open Letter on Literacy to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

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BBC News: Reaching the parts others cannot teach

It’s easy to take online learning for granted, whether it’s finding how to do something on YouTube or following a free online course from a university.

When educationalists write about Moocs – massive open online courses – it is often about the technical achievement of being able to deliver chunks of higher education courses to millions of online learners. Or else it’s about the economics of universities taking their wares to a wider audience or delivering extra content for their existing students.

But Moocs – a few years after the initial hype about these digital courses – are now teaching people who would otherwise be unable to access lessons.

Via: BBC News: Reaching the parts others cannot teach

BBC News: Employers warn of ‘skills emergency’

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More than half of employers fear they will not be able to recruit enough high-skilled workers, according to a survey by the CBI. The employers’ organisation is warning that a skills shortage is ‘threatening to starve economic growth’.

“Firms are facing a skills emergency now,” said CBI deputy director-general Katja Hall.

via: BBC News: Employers warn of ‘skills emergency’

BBC News: ‘Back to school’ for parents in Singapore

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“It’s all about understanding what students do at school and how to solve complicated problems using the latest methods,” said Nur Hidayah Ismail, the principal at Genius Young Minds tutorial centre. As a previous school teacher in a state school, parents kept asking me for help to coach them. I saw there was an urgency because they don’t know how to coach their child at home,” she added. “When I resigned I thought I needed to help as parents were out of touch with the syllabus.”

Read more: BBC News: ‘Back to school’ for parents in Singapore

BBC News: Latin America’s Wake-up Call on Global School Tests

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In Latin America, the regional rankings of these international tests taken by 15 year olds in maths, reading and science, are headed by diminutive Chile, ahead of economic powerhouses like Brazil and Mexico. But most countries remain off the ranking completely.

Read the full article here: Latin America’s wake-up call on global school tests | BBC News

BBC News: World Fails to Reach Millennium Education Targets

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The promise that all children globally would have primary education by 2015 – pledged by world leaders in the millennium year – has officially not been achieved. Unesco says there are 58 million children without access to primary school and 100 million who do not complete a primary education. Only a quarter of countries achieved the goal of halving adult illiteracy.

Read the full article here: BBC News: World Fails to Reach Millennium Education Targets