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Beating poverty with books

UNESCO’s nineteenth annual World Book and Copyright Day on April 23 marked the continued campaign for equal access to books.

UNESCO’s Director General, Irina Bokov, deemed the campaign ‘our most powerful forces for poverty eradication and peace building.’

In a clear indication of the importance of digital literacy, The International Federation of University Women (IFUW) and British Federation of Women Graduates (BFWG) are asking that governments prioritise the provision of affordable internet access to secondary school students, as well as printed materials.

IFUW and BWFG are advocating for a particular focus on ensuring young women have the crucial modern materials for learning: digital and paper books.

These organizations challenge the view that the level of education a child receives is largely predetermined by their background, arguing instead that the single greatest determining factor is consistent internet access and availability of books.

The President of IFUW, Catherine Bell, stated her view on the matter.

“Digital books, or e-books, can offer improved access to education for all secondary school age girls, including marginalised girls such as those living in remote and rural areas, those without transport to school, those without safe access to education and those who are disabled.”

She explained that “there is limited learning without books and limited economic development without learning.”

E-books offer a more convenient way to read and can provide broader access to the education necessary to reduce poverty worldwide.

Digital books and internet availability allow children to learn from home in cases where formal schooling is unfeasible.

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