In a primary school in rural Cambodia, 10-year-old Sophal whisks his fingers across a mobile device as new words and literacy lessons appear in his native language of Khmer.
Things are different now than at the start of the school year, when Sophal was often absent from school for extended periods.
Two years ago, All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development, Pearson, and Project Literacy saw a key opportunity to serve the literacy needs of a major segment of the global population: the estimated 19 million children who are blind or have low vision and millions more with disabilities that impact their use of printed materials.
The Book Boost: Access for All Challenge is Designed to Reduce the Production Costs of Digital Reading Materials, Including Books for Children Who Are Blind or Have Low Vision
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 4, 2018 – All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development (ACR GCD), Pearson, and Project Literacy today announced two winners of a global prize competition to spur innovation that optimizes the production process for children’s books, thereby reducing costs and making it easier for publishers to produce high-quality reading materials for all children.
In a small village in central India, 7-year-old Gouri sits beside her father, the light of a smartphone screen gently illuminating both of their faces. They smile and laugh as they share experiences once unknown to them: the opportunity to read stories and learn facts about animals, birds, and colors in their native language of Marathi.
With the seven-year-old Syrian conflict showing no signs of resolution, millions of affected children are at grave risk of becoming a “lost generation.” After long periods out-of-school during their formative years, many are facing a lifetime of significant societal challenges due to their lack of basic literacy skills, while also struggling with the long-term effects of trauma and chronic stress.
The Problem Space
Textbooks undoubtedly enhance learning outcomes especially in large classrooms with poorly trained teachers and crumbling infrastructure. Challenges to textbook distribution are abundant—especially in low-resource settings—and increasingly well-documented ranging from supply chain breakdowns to poor knowledge management to misuse or no use at all.
It was six years ago that All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development (ACR GCD) recognized both the challenge and opportunity for educating children in the language they speak and understand.
It was this challenge that motivated ACR GCD to do whatever possible to move the needle on statistics that showed 40 percent of the global population lacking access to education in their mother language.