New UNESCO publication on mobile reading

On the occasion of World Book and Copyright Day on 23 April 2014, the UNESCO ICT in Education Team released its first report on Mobile Reading.

Despite major advances in publishing, books remain out of reach for large numbers of people.  A study of 16 sub-Saharan African countries found that a majority of primary schools have few or no books, slowing reading acquisition and learning in all school subjects. Book scarcity also impacts middle-income and rich countries: In South Africa, 51 % of households own no leisure books, and only 7 % of schools have libraries.  In poor neighborhoods in the USA, the ratio of children to books is 300 to 1. 

So although many parts of the world are book-poor, these same places are increasingly mobile-phone rich. The UN estimate that 6 billion people have access to a working mobile phone and over 90 % of the population is blanketed by a mobile network. These numbers present an opportunity to facilitate literacy through mobile devices. 

The new publication ”Reading in the Mobile Era” paints the most detailed picture to date of profiles and habits of mobile readers in seven developing countries across Africa and Asia, and offers policy recommendations to leverage existing mobile technology in order to increase reading in countries where literacy rates are low.



How have mobile phones and the internet influenced your reading and learning?

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