Manager Education Sector at the World Bank group Harry Patrinos said on Saturday that globally more money has to be invested into primary school education with a focus on reading skills.
Patrinos, at the Global Education and Skills Forum (GESF) here, said that the "government and education donors spend rising amounts of money into higher education, while investments into basic education remains stagnant, especially in the developing world," Xinhua news agency reported.
However, he added "a study conducted by the World Bank found out that it costs just 10 dollars per pupil per year to equip teachers in Malawi with tools to ensure no child is left behind in relation to achieve basic reading skills."
The World Bank said Patrinos has therefore launched reading programmes in several developing countries.
The expert added that an estimated 25 percent of children in developing countries cannot read and write, while 50 per cent of all kids in middle-income countries are "technically illiterate", meaning they are unable to understand or interpret small text.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, "we found out that 61 million people cannot read", said Patrinos.
"The investments into reading skills shall not be regarded as losses, since the economic loss of creating generations of illiterate people goes into the trillions of dollars globally," he added.