Autor: Grant Lovejoy
Orality will be a factor in missions strategy for the next half a century. That’s the conclusion I draw from reading Reaching the Marginalised, the 2010 U. N. report on progress in the Education for All (EFA) campaign.
The EFA goals for 2000-2015 included providing primary school education for all children and reducing by half the percentage of adults worldwide who are illiterate. Two-thirds of the way through that period, several trends are evident:
How is that for discouraging news?
Admittedly, there are bright spots. Some adult education programs teach adults to read in a matter of months. Some minority children have breakthrough experiences in school. Some communities catch the vision for educating their daughters. May their tribe increase!
But the tragic reality is that adult literacy levels change slowly. In most countries a change of ten percentage points in a generation would be a real accomplishment. Given where countries started from in 2000 and the slow pace of advance, it is likely that the majority of the world will still rely on spoken, rather than written, language for communication in 2040.