Pearson Partners with The Asia Foundation to Increase Access to Children’s Literature and Promote Reading

A mother reads The Tale of a Naughty Little Rabbit with her children. Photo by Ed Wray.

A mother reads The Tale of a Naughty Little Rabbit with her children. Photo by Ed Wray.

Jakarta, August 26, 2014 — The Asia Foundation’s Books for Asia program has partnered with Pearson to deliver 100,000 books to children and families in Indonesia under its ‘Booktime’ literacy program. Through Booktime, the aim is to provide quality books to children and families in remote and underserved areas, and to encourage them to share the joy of reading.

Due to Indonesia’s unique geography, several areas in the country are remote and difficult to access. Children and families living in these areas have few public libraries near where they live, or the ones available are poorly stocked and maintained. Thus, people’s ability to read and access current information is limited simply because quality books are scarce. In addition, if parents are illiterate or poorly educated then it is very challenging to foster a reading culture at home, creating a cyclical problem.

The Booktime program was established in partnership with UK literacy charity Booktrust in 2006, with the goal of providing books and guidance to families with children and encouraging them to read together. In 2012, Pearson partnered with The Asia Foundation to distribute 5,000 books to the community in Labuan Bajo, Flores. This year, Pearson and The Asia Foundation are donating books throughout the archipelago, targeting 14 provinces spanning from North Sumatra to West Papua, working together with local partners. In Jakarta they have partnered with Yayasan Cinta Anak Bangsa (YCAB), and will be working with women who benefit from YCAB’s microcredit scheme.

“Pearson’s donations to our Books for Asia program have enriched school libraries throughout Indonesia for many years. With Booktime Indonesia, we’re hoping to inspire a key ingredient to lifelong learning – the thrill and enjoyment that can be found in reading at any age. We couldn’t ask for a better partner than Pearson, a company that is committed to improving lives globally through the power of education,” cited Sandra Hamid, The Asia Foundation Country Representative for Indonesia.

Pearson, the world’s largest learning company, aims to foster a reading culture for future generations in Indonesia and to promote the joy of reading by providing books to children and families who, due to geographical or economic disparities, lack access to literature.

“At Pearson we aim to help people of all ages make measurable progress in their lives through learning. Being able to learn assumes the ability to read, yet illiteracy remains one of the biggest challenges of modern society with almost 800 million people around the world unable to read,” said Christopher Samler, Managing Director, Venture Markets, Pearson. “Through our partnership with the Asia Foundation, we hope that we can play a small part in increasing access to quality literature and sharing a love of reading. Together we will be handing out 100,000 books to families across Indonesia as an extension of our UK literacy programme, Booktime.”

It is widely acknowledged that literacy, as the foundation of a good education, plays a hand in the reduction of poverty, the facilitation of economic growth, the advancement of democracy, and the promotion of human rights and gender equality. One of the key skills measured by researchers to understand the quality of education systems, reading is an inseparable facet of students’ ability to apply what they have learnt in the classroom to all aspects of their life. However, in order to increase the national literacy rate, basic reading skills must be supported and nurtured by a strong reading culture.

Global literacy continues to rise each year. However, a report released by UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) in September 2013 indicates that almost 800 million adults worldwide remain illiterate, two-thirds of which are female. As the most important educator in a child’s life, mothers and caregivers play a pivotal role in fostering a love of reading within their families and in sharing the joys of reading with their children, which in turn serves to raise literacy and education levels.

Books for Asia puts one million brand-new books into the hands of students, educators, and local and national leaders in 19 countries annually. Since 1955, Books for Asia has distributed more than 2.5 million books and journals to Indonesian schools, universities, and government, professional and civic organizations.

Read more about the Foundation’s work in Indonesia. For media inquiries, please visit the Press Room.

Related locations: Indonesia
Related programs: Books for Asia

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