Literacy is of course fundamental to education, although illiterate people can and do master artistic, craft, agricultural, hunting, and combat skills, among others, all the time. In particular, literacy for girls and women has been shown to correlate with
- Much lower maternal, fetal, and infant mortality
- Bearing fewer children
- Lower incidence of HIV/AIDS and other sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs)
- Escape from poverty
- Reduced corruption in local government
- Reduced family violence
and other benefits. These can be multiplied with relatively simple education in matters such as other health issues and microfinance.
TTS for all
Sugar Labs has a project, currently stalled, to make Text-to-Speech capability available in every Sugar activity that deals with text. Our model is Same Language Subtitling (SLS) of Bollywood movies and TV shows in India. SLS has turned out to the the most cost-effective literacy program in India, with the widest reach.
Many people in India will go to a musical several times over, and the audience will sing along. SLS provides the words of the song, and colors the syllables to match the timing of the singing. It is a bit like the old bouncing ball technique for TV singalongs decades ago in English. Reports are that little old ladies from the villages, who thought that they would never be able to learn any "school subject", find themselves reading as they sing. (Brains are wonderful in what they can do without us knowing about it.)
Students from Carnegie-Mellon University (CMU) were in Uruguay in summer 2011, working with the Administración Nacional de Educación Pública (ANEP, National Administration of Public Education) in Montevideo. The students wrote software to assist teachers in creating English literacy programs for language students. Lessons may appear on Facebook, or be provided in Sugar.
- Same Language Subtitling in India
- CMU program for creating English literacy lessons on OLPC XOs.
- [ Uruguay's Facebook page for practicing English] (URL needed)