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Vilsack Challenges Education Students to Help Spread Literacy

Christie Vilsack, Senior Advisor for International Education with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) visited the Purdue College of Education last week to talk to students, faculty and the administration about how US students and educators can help defeat world poverty by promoting literacy and education around the world. 

A former teacher herself, with over 20 years of classroom experience, Vilsack spoke about the challenges that face students and classroom teachers in developing nations.  These include lack of training, lack of resources in native languages, as well as cultural taboos about educating women or ethnic minorities.

Vilsack is on a tour of universities for the United States Agency for International Development in order to raise awareness and enlist assistance in this effort. The agency’s goal is to teach 100-million children around the world to read.

Vilsack explained that USAID created a contest to challenge individuals to find ways to facilitate this global literacy effort.   The “All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development” provides a $100,000 award for the development of software that helps young people learn to read in their native language.

During her visit with the College of Education, Vilsack met with the dean, select faculty, and students.  She also addressed a group of future educators in an elementary education methods class.