International Literacy Day

A S’gaw Karen student runs his classmates through a pronunciation drill. Photo/Lukas Winfield 

Inclusive Education for Thailand’s Minorities: Snapshots from the North

September 6, 2016

A cornerstone of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is achieving quality, inclusive education for all. Yet, a recent UNESCO report indicates that 40 percent of the global population does not have access to education in a language they can speak or understand. This is a long-running challenge in Thailand, home to a diversity of languages co… Read more

Cambodian students 

5 Lessons on How to Build a Digital Library Program

September 6, 2016

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Tomorrow marks the 50th anniversary of International Literacy Day and a half century later there’s much to celebrate. However, one of the persistent problems faced by schools in developing countries still today is a lack of one of the most essential ingredients to encourage reading: engaging children’s books to build literacy from an early age. In… Read more

A S’gaw Karen student runs his classmates through a pronunciation drill. Photo/Lukas Winfield 

To Realize SDGs, Thailand’s Minority Communities Need More Mother Tongue Books

September 6, 2016

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Northern Thailand, a region famous for its natural beauty, hill tribe communities, and trekking routes through lush jungle terrain, is home to a diversity of languages and cultures comprising approximately 59 unique ethnolinguistic groups. Standard Thai is currently the country’s only official language and the primary language of instruction in pub… Read more

Amaraa in the hallway of their apartment building. 

Economic Struggles and Expectations for Education in a Changing Mongolia

September 6, 2016

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Mongolia is currently a land in economic flux. Fallen revenues from the mining sector and potential bracing measures from the newly elected government point to economic uncertainty ahead. While investment in various sectors may inevitably be delayed, one area that should continue to be a priority is education. The nearly two-thirds of Ulaanbaatar’s… Read more

Ruby Hembrom (left) at the World Delhi Book Fair. 

Giving a Voice to India’s Indigenous (Adivasi) Community

September 6, 2016

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Ruby Hembrom (left) at the World Delhi Book Fair. Five years ago, Ruby Hembrom gave up a high-paying career in the IT sector to start her own publishing company to preserve the culture and historical heritage of India’s indigenous (Adivasi) community. Hembrom, who spent the first four years of her life in rural Jharkhand learning Santali as her nat… Read more

Kyle 

A Village of E-books

September 9, 2015

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The village of Tanou lies in a quiet corner of Cambodia, about 13 kilometers down a dusty road off National Highway 1 as you head towards the Mekong Delta from Phnom Penh. Trees provide a canopy of shade for most of the way to the village, beating back the blazing sun and screening the vast, partially flooded rice paddies that stretch to the horizon on either side.

MyanmarNewspaperStand 

In Highly Literate Myanmar, Local Storybooks are Missing from Shelves

September 4, 2013

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As we contemplate the triumphs and remaining challenges in improving literacy this International Literacy Day, consider the fascinating case of Myanmar. The country is one of the poorest in Southeast Asia, with decaying infrastructure and an economy that is just now starting to pick up after decades of stagnation.

Timorboyreading 

The Silent Crisis in Timor-Leste’s Development Trajectory

September 4, 2013

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As International Literacy Day approaches, the matter of literacy remains an enormous challenge around the world, including in Asia’s youngest nation, Timor-Leste. Amid the competing development agendas for this democratizing, fast-developing, and oil-rich nation, education, and literacy in particular, too often falls by the wayside.

WorldReaderChildren 

Activating Feature Phones as Handheld Libraries

September 4, 2013

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Victor, a middle-aged resident of the Western Kenyan village of Koru, watched me page through my old Nokia feature phone. I was in Koru to launch a program at a nearby school for Worldreader, an organization that brings e-books to places and people underserved by print books. This was one of the few breaks I had during the launch…

Conor_Ashleigh_2012_Bangladesh_TAF_highres-486-495x329 

Picturing: A Storybook Partnership

September 4, 2013

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In developing countries, one of the impediments to early childhood education is the availability of high-quality, age-appropriate reading material in local languages. Children’s book publishing is limited by the lack of specialized skills among local publishers, authors, and illustrators, and a consumer base that can afford extracurricular books. To address this gap, The Asia Foundation’s Books for Asia program and Room to Read are partnering to expand access to compelling and culturally relevant early reading material to children in under-served communities throughout developing Asia.

 

Harnessing Mobile Learning to Advance Global Literacy

September 5, 2012

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This International Literacy Day, Sept. 8, 2012, marks the culmination of the United Nations Literacy Decade (UILD), an initiative launched in 2003 to increase literacy levels and develop literate environments worldwide.

Borneo1 

In Remote Sabah, Books Can Help Reduce Isolation

September 5, 2012

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I recently took a trip into the heart of Malaysian Borneo to visit some of the most remote schools that The Asia Foundation’s Books for Asia serves. Borneo is a large island located north of Java, Indonesia. In the spring of 2011, we started a partnership with PACOS Trust…

 

Neil Armstrong, Southeast Asia, and International Literacy Day

September 5, 2012

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Like many, I was saddened to learn of Neil Armstrong’s death in August. He was 82. When Mr. Armstrong made his “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” I was a 12-year-old boy growing up in New Jersey.

Books for Asia's Storytime in Asia campaign (Indonesia) 

VIDEO: Storytime Campaign Reaches 2 Million Children Across Asia

September 5, 2012

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In the lead-up to International Literacy Day on September 8, The Asia Foundation’s Books for Asia program launched Storytime in Asia, a month-long campaign that celebrates the transformative power of children’s books by providing critically needed reading material to some of the world’s poorest students.

IndonesiaLearningCenters 

Deep in Jakarta’s Slums, Community Learning Centers Thrive

October 26, 2011

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Sitting at the back of the classroom, with one eye on her mobile phone, Shanti looks like a typical Indonesian high school student. But Shanti is not here to learn; instead, she’s a tutor herself. In a makeshift classroom constructed from two old shipping containers stacked on top of each other, Shanti tutors first grade students at the Master Community Learning Center in Depok, on the outskirts of Jakarta. “It’s a great experience,” the 17-year-old says. “I can contribute to the education of Indonesian children as well as help relieve some of the pressure on the learning center.”

TimorILD 

Timor-Leste’s President Calls for Redoubling of Nation’s Commitment to Education

September 14, 2011

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On September 8, The Asia Foundation commemorated International Literacy Day for the first time in Timor-Leste. The Foundation partnered with the Secretary of State for Youth and Sport, Alola Foundation, Care International, and Timor Aid to host a book fair for primary and secondary students.

AfghangirlsHoopoe 

Traditional Afghan Tales Return Home

September 7, 2011

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I was in my teens in England when I first heard the Afghan author and educator Idries Shah telling tales to his children, family, and friends. He had collected hundreds of these traditional stories from oral and manuscript sources in and around Afghanistan.

Vietnam 2009, Justin Mott/Getty Images for The Asia Foundation 2008 Annual Report 

Unlocking the Potential of Vietnam’s Libraries

September 7, 2011

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Stories of Vietnam’s rapid development make headlines in local and international media regularly these days. In 1985, the average per-capita income in Vietnam was $130, making it one of the five poorest countries in the world. Now, with average incomes over $1,000, Vietnam’s highly literate population…

Prakash-2 

Q&A: Nepal Library Director Discusses Nation’s Literacy Challenges

September 7, 2011

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As the world celebrates International Literacy Day on September 8, The Asia Foundation’s Books for Asia officer in Nepal, Shameera Shrestha, caught up with the director of the American Library at the U.S. Embassy of Kathmandu, Prakash Thapa, on where he sees the future of Nepal’s library system…

Mindanaolegacy 

Family Legacy in Mindanao Inspires Community to Better Education

September 7, 2011

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When Ireneo O. Pinzon and his family moved in the 1960s to Isulan, a rural town in Mindanao in the Southern Philippines, not a single library existed. Even 50 years later, the Southern Philippines continues to lag behind the more urban islands to the north.