The EPEL Foundation will tackle the challenge of continued prevalence of poor levels of functional literacy, which is a world-wide problem (viz., see pages 22, 73 and 77–79 in this UNESCO compendium), and of the associated inequities and inequalities of primary education in general and of elementary reading literacy in particular (the pedagogy of both basic reading and writing instruction and of their remediation).
There are about a billion people around the globe who suffer with dyslexia (have some form of reading difficulty). People, who are dyslexic, process information differently and this tends to affect them in numerous ways – i.e., not just in the way they approach reading, spelling and writing (NB. this multifaceted disorder also tends to manifest itself in reading and writing difficulties differently in different orthographies, be it alphabetic or non-alphabetic). The impact on their lives and their countries' economies is immense.
However, putting an end to poor levels of literacy has a staggering effect on a country's wealth – research has estimated this to be up to 22% of gross national product (to put this in some kind of a perspective, health inequities within the European Union alone are annually responsible for an average 1.4% loss in GDP; this is largely due to preventable losses in taxes, productivity and so on).
As part of the mission to achieve our vision, the Foundation is going to house two separate entities that will be instrumental in helping us deliver on our aims and objectives on a global scale:
- a Postgraduate Institute (focusing on practical elementary teaching and neuro-psycho-pedagogy), which will be responsible for the dissemination of in-service training to primary school teachers, and
- a Research Centre for the Neurophysiology of Reading (with a focus on the acquisition of reading in children),
thus representing in this field a much needed fusion between science and the arts, technology and creativity, academia and the reading literacy pedagogy.
We are immensely grateful to several organizations that have so far pledged to support our vision: Umande Corporation (Kenya), Lumatop (Belgium), Choco Africa (Nigeria), the logistics specialist Siginon Group (eastern Africa) and the educational & didactic institute ABC Music in Prague (Czech Republic), where we are currently based.