Adult literacy has been at the heart of World Education’s work since it was established in 1951 in India and founded the Literacy House upon the urging of Mohandas Gandhi. Sixty-four years later, while gains have been made in many parts of the world, the need for literacy education remains great: there are nearly 800 million adults and out-of-school youth in the world with limited or no literacy and numeracy. In the U.S., adults’ basic skills are falling behind those of other developed nations. For the first time, the skills of young adults are lower than those of their parents’ generation. At the same time, people need even more different types of literacies to move ahead in their lives than in 1951. World Education’s approach to literacy education and how we define it has evolved and expanded commensurate with the skills adults need to navigate systems, pursue opportunities, and address problems successfully in their personal lives, work, and communities.
To commemorate the Adult Education and Family Literacy Week, in this series of blog posts World Education/ U.S. staff share their views on what literacy means to us today and how we are helping to advance adult education in multiple ways. Our list is not comprehensive: there are not enough days in a week to feature all the types of literacy youth and adults need in today’s world! Please join the dialogue.
Financial literacy skills enrich all facets of life. A recent study, With Their Whole Lives Ahead of Them, found that over 60% of students cited financial and not academic reasons for dropping out of college. A strong foundation in financial literacy needs to be a hallmark of all educational programming. The importance in making financial literacy and planning integral in adult education programming is magnified with the increased emphasis on college and credential completion, if learners are to earn a family sustaining wage.
How is World Education helping to support financial literacy education for adult students? National College Transition Network continues to partner with the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) to raise awareness of the importance of financial literacy. We co-developed a financial literacy publication that is geared specifically towards adult learners. This publication, Mapping your Financial Journey: Helping Adults Plan for College, is available as a free resource. We have also collaborated with NEFE to develop a workshop kit called Money Management for Adult Learners that can be used in adult education programs. We continue to present workshops and deliver trainings together and have an upcoming workshop at the 2015 NCTN Conference. See you there!