Of the nearly one billion adults who cannot read, 70 percent of them are women. Many societies around the world do not place an emphasis on educating girls or even allow girls to go to school. No education and being unable to read severely limits a girl’s future economic and employment opportunities. The activity, Lessons for Life is a great way to show middle school students that equal education is key for a country’s future development, in more ways than one. Students will read and discuss a short conversation between two Kenyan girls, watch and listen to two photo essays of school girls in less developed countries, and interpret a graph correlating literacy and fertility rates worldwide.
Students read a story about the education of two young girls from Kenya and complete a reading comprehension worksheet. After they complete the worksheet, students can share their answers and thoughts as a class, and explore why girls in many countries receive less education than boys.
A second part of the worksheet has students interpret a graph that correlates women’s literacy rates and population growth for 10 countries around the world. Have students identify links between female literacy and population growth.
Part 2 of the activity has students interact with two photo essays from the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative website. Each focuses on a teenage girl discussing her day-to-day routines and the role that education plays in her life. Students discuss several questions related to each of the photo essays in order to examine each story more in-depth.
To extend the lesson, check out this book list that recommends contemporary books taking a closer look at global education and girls’ education. And keep in mind, global education is one of the challenges in the World of 7 Billion video contest this year! Submission deadline is February 19, 2015.