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  • Dec 29, 2014
  • Updated: 1:46pm


John Wood talks about charity Room to Read

Photo: Paul Yeung; Illustration: Ken Cheng

John Wood is a Microsoft executive who gave up his lucrative corporate career to change the world. That was in 1999, and it's fair to say he's made a difference. 

Monday, 18 March, 2013, 9:47am

Literacy success highlights pitfalls

Only 12 per cent of Hong Kong parents engaged in some form of pre-school literacy activities with their children versus the international average of 37 per cent. Photo: SCMP

The recent results of Progress in International Reading and Literacy Study (PIRLS 2011), considered the "gold standard" in measuring literacy development globally, provides a perfect example of the failings and short-sightedness of our current approach to education and the dangers it creates for our society over the long term.

11 Jan 2013 - 2:46am

Between The Lines: Our children top the world at reading, but do they enjoy it?

PIRLS (Progress in International Reading Literacy Study)

The PIRLS 2011 International Results in Reading were recently announced, and Hong Kong placed first out of 49 countries in reading ability of fourth-graders. This was widely reported locally and internationally.

6 Jan 2013 - 2:56pm 1 comment

Largest developing nations still face challenges getting children to school

Classes in session at a free school for impoverished slum children run under a metro bridge in New Delhi, India. Photo: AFP

Delegations from the world's nine most populous developing countries just met in New Delhi to discuss a subject vital for their countries' futures: education.

19 Nov 2012 - 3:24am

Give the young the skills to thrive

A young Cambodian girl sells drinks by a road in Phnom Penh. Photo: EPA

Despite population ageing in some societies, including in East Asia, the world on the whole is getting younger. Yet, many young people lack the basic skills to make the most of what the world has to offer.

17 Oct 2012 - 3:13am

Writers blocked

For all the loudly trumpeted deficiencies in the local education system - and there are plenty of those - the fact remains that more Hong Kong people can read now than at any other time in history. Neatly uniformed schoolchildren are one of the city's most common sights.

24 Jun 2012 - 12:00am

A cultural crisis writ large for China

Language and destiny go hand in hand, as much for countries as for individuals. The mainland has been acutely aware of that as it strives to meet its goal of teaching another 43 million people to read and write adequately by 2015. Under a 12-year programme that has made literacy a national priority, the number of people considered illiterate has declined by two million annually.

8 Apr 2012 - 12:00am

A foolproof guide to raising intelligent little monsters

I have been searching for decades for a comprehensive guide that can provide parents with the tools to raise intelligent little beings.

I had pretty much given up any hope of finding one that was well-researched and reputable.

1 Apr 2012 - 12:00am

Girls better than boys in digital literacy test

Hong Kong pupils' digital literacy is above the international average and the city's girls are slightly more digitally literate than boys, according to exam results released by the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development.

29 Jun 2011 - 12:00am

ESF leads phonics revival

I barely recall how I was taught to read. But as I grew up in Britain in the 1970s, it is likely to have been by what is called the 'whole-language' approach. An image that sticks is the teacher holding up cards with letters on as we repeated, 'A for apple, B for boy', working through the alphabet.

27 Jun 2011 - 12:00am

Bid to cut illiteracy rate to hit UN goal

The Ministry of Education is moving to cut the country's illiterate population by more than 10 million in the next five years to meet a pledge to halve it under the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals.

27 May 2011 - 12:00am

Literacy standards fall among young Australians

The literacy skills of young Australians have fallen over the past 10 years, according to an annual report compiled by the country's Bureau of Statistics.

6 Sep 2008 - 12:00am

Raising readers

For many Hong Kong children, reading is an excruciating exercise associated with churning out book reports and cramming new words. Five-year-old Martin Ho Chun-yau used to feel the same way - especially when his mother Catherine Lam Siu-yin took a lecturing tone as they read together. That's changed since she attended a reading workshop.

14 Dec 2007 - 12:00am

Can't read, can't write, no job: rural poor struggle in big cities

The block of small, make-shift bungalows in Shangdi, northwestern Beijing, is one of dozens of notorious shanty towns for migrant people working in the capital.

The areas are home to rural labourers who have trickled into the city in search of a better life but often end up languishing in poverty because they do not have a basic education.

4 May 2007 - 12:00am

More Australian parents are suing over poor teaching

Australian parents are increasingly resorting to litigation if they believe their children have not been taught properly, an educator has warned.

President of the Victorian Association of State Secondary Principals, Andrew Blair, has warned that a recent literacy case could lead to an increase in litigation between parents and schools.

16 Dec 2006 - 12:00am