Children of a School in New Delhi. Photo by Rakesh Raman / RMN News Service (file photo)

Children of a School in New Delhi. Photo by Rakesh Raman / RMN News Service (file photo)

Commitment to Action on Foundational Learning

Governments and education stakeholders around the world are urged to endorse the Commitment to Action on Foundational Learning to ensure all children, including the most marginalized, develop foundational learning to realize their full potential and participate in society.

According to UNICEF, nearly six-out-of-ten children globally are estimated to be affected by learning poverty, meaning they are unable to read and understand a simple text by the age of ten. In low- and middle-income countries, the share is an estimated seven-out-of-ten children. This learning crisis has been exacerbated by the pandemic.

Children who cannot read and understand a simple text will struggle to learn anything else in school. They are more likely to repeat a grade and more likely to drop out of school. They are less likely to benefit from further training and skills programs.  

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At a national level, this will lead to worse health outcomes, greater youth unemployment and deeper levels of poverty. Every child deserves the dignity and opportunity that foundational learning brings.

The Commitment to Action recognizes that foundational learning provides the essential building blocks for all other learning, knowledge and higher-order skills.

It is a formal way for countries around the world and the global education community to demonstrate a commitment at the highest political levels to securing foundational learning for all children and to implement policies that will help to achieve targets under SDG4.

It is also an effort to articulate the shared ambition and evidence-based recommendations from national governments and partners, to ensure all children achieve foundational learning. 

By endorsing the Commitment to Action, countries and organizations commit to taking urgent and decisive action to reduce by half the global share of children unable to read and understand a simple text by age ten, by 2030. 

The Commitment to Action is one of seven global initiatives launched at the UN Secretary-General’s Transforming Education Summit (TES), held in September 2022. The first draft of the CtA was agreed during the TES Pre-Summit in Paris in June 2022. 

Members of the global education community and other partners, including civil society and youth organizations, can endorse the Commitment to Action.

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