Learning Poverty: Building the Foundation of Human Capital

"The percentage of children unable to read by the age of 10—is at the heart of global poverty."

Tackling all the fundamental steps that are needed to deliver the outcome of a child who can read by their first decade of life requires action across multiple arenas. To learn, children must first survive and thrive; families must have access to quality services; girls must h... view more


Part 1: Why should countries invest in human capital? In Sub-Saharan Africa, the level of learning poverty is 87%. Even in regions with relatively high incomes such as MENA, learning poverty is above 60%, in LATAM the figure is over 50% - underscoring why human capital is at the core of our IDA commitment. 


Part 2: How does focusing on reading help galvanize our actions towards Sustainable Development Goal 4 of providing quality education to the children of impoverished families? Why is investing in people and better education has impacts far beyond just the children who are currently in school? 


Part 3: How do we create a sense of urgency around the issue of providing quality education? Why aren't we getting it right, when everybody knows this is a priority? How do we focus on the improvement of quality education, particularly among girls? 


Part 4: Watch the Bite video to learn about how Mayor Gomes of Sobral, Brazil took his municipality from ranking 1,366 in the nation to the number 1 position in education. Today, even when education is a priority and we add resources at a significant level, we still have not cracked the access and quality delivery problem.  


Part 5: How do we make the learning revolution happen? What are the greatest implementing challenging in designing and executing policy plans and objectives? How do we make teachers the heart of the reform? 


Part 6: How can the international development community do better and help coordinate with countries to take on challenges? How can advocacy and on the ground work make a difference? How do we support continued investment and increased expenditure in education when there are competing priorities? 


Part 7: How is the new approach going to make real change? How are we going to get countries to take action so this is not one of those empty cycles? Why is reading focused on the development of a narrow notion of human capital that focuses on worker productivity rather than the development of human capabilities?

About the Presenters

David R. Malpass

President, World Bank Group

Kenneth Ofori-Atta

Finance Minister, Ghana

Annette Dixon

Vice President, Human Development World Bank Group

Aïchatou Boulama Kané

Minister of Planning, Niger

Henrietta Fore

Executive Director, UNICEF


Ivo Ferreira Gomes

Mayor of Sobral, Brazil

Kevin Watkins

Chief Executive, Save the Children, UK

Anxhela (Albania)

Girl Champion from Albania

Kaya Henderson (Moderator)

Teach for All and Former Chancellor DC Public Schools