Did you read this article’s title? You couldn’t NOT read it, could you? Thank a teacher. Yet 58% of Bangladeshis cannot read or write. Problems abound in Bangladesh: Absolute poverty. Few books. Lack of proper school facilities. Shortage of classrooms. Prejudice against women. Sheer inefficiency and/or unfaithfulness of teaching staff. Many people here cannot not meet their basic needs, much less meet their needs for education. So what are we going to do about it? A lot is being done. Yet we’ve only just begun:
- We’re not just talking books here, though AOB’s Literature Division produces and markets quality, inexpensive books for all ages.
- Literacy, too, includes other forms of communication, including maps, pictures, and video. AOB’s Media Production offers a visual-aids library for any teachers, as well as regularly producing new health videos, music CDs, and MP-3 messages and music.
- As communities become more technological, literacy also includes computer skills and number systems. That’s why AOB encourages our staff in computer skills courses. All our education programs include mathematics with reading and writing, too.
- Because needs, education, and demands differ in different societies, abilities vary too. So AOB starts village-schools, maintains formal education projects, partners in non-formal education centers, plus urges child-sponsorships. You, too, can partner with us in these essential programs.
- All forms of literacy are lifelong learning; after all, we all need to critically interpret the written word. That’s why AOB offers adult literacy for men and for women. We sponsor annual teachers training and we give on-going assessment in all our programs.
Obviously AOB places high value on education for all. Readers (Read “we all”) use the information we gain. We receive insights into the world around us. We make wise decisions. We think creatively. Literacy transforms lives.
Interestingly, UNESCO’s Global Monitoring Report of 2006 shows a clear connection between illiteracy and countries in severe poverty, and between illiteracy and prejudice against women. We see it all around us. So, through oral storying, films, and traveling teachers, AOB attempts to raise public awareness of the extraordinary value of the written word.