International Foundational Learning

The world is facing a global learning poverty crisis—one in which about 70% of 10 year old children in low- and middle-income countries cannot read and understand a simple story (increased from 53% pre- COVID-19 pandemic). To address this urgent crisis, we are focused on improving learning outcomes across Africa, Asia, and the Latin America and Caribbean regions through rigorous research and technical assistance on large-scale foundational learning programs, especially in bilingual and multilingual educational contexts.

Our Work

Our approach relies on the integrative cycle of research, program design, technical assistance, and capacity building. Main areas of emphasis include multilingual reading, mother tongue-based education, assessments for reading and writing, and community participation.

AIR’s expertise spans all ages and grades, from early childhood to the postsecondary level, including literacy in families and in school and community settings. Our work includes

  • conducting research on key topics to help resolve the global learning crisis, such as structured pedagogy and bilingual/multilingual education;
  • implementing effective community-based social and behavioral change support systems;
  • developing reading and literacy standards tailored for varying languages and writing systems;
  • developing large-scale regional and national assessments as well as simple formative assessments; and
  • designing evidence-based programs and teacher training focusing on daily scripted lessons, teacher guides, and supplemental reading materials.
Pooja Nakamura
Principal Researcher and Program Area Lead, International Education