East Timor: “Literacy Often Falls by the Way Side”

"East Timor waiting for school to start", Same (06/09/2010). Photo by john.hession on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

“East Timor waiting for school to start”, Same (06/09/2010). Photo by john.hession on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Marking the International Literacy Day, September 8, The Asia Foundation's blog, In Asia presents striking numbers on the quality of educational outcomes in Timor-Leste, a country where “education, and literacy in particular, too often falls by the wayside”:

World Bank research found that 70 percent of first grade students in Timor-Leste were unable to read a single word of a simple text passage randomly selected in either of the country’s official languages, Portuguese or Tetun.

The Silent Crisis in Timor-Leste’s Development Trajectory‘ by The Asia Foundation's Country Representative in Timor-Leste, Susan Marx, and Mário F. Costa Pinhero, stresses the ongoing debate on the language policy of Asia’s youngest nation. As Global Voices reported back in 2011, the number of national languages is up to 16 and dozens of other dialects are used on a daily basis by Timorese citizens. The article addresses progress and hindrance to government's strategies, and states that “a more fundamental challenge lies in the overwhelming lack of a reading culture“.



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