One of the most significant features of the education system in the US is its flexibility in terms of the number and diversity of institutions that are found within the country.
Here’s an overview of literacy rates vs. average years of schooling from countries across the world for the time period of 1870 to 2010:[caption id="attachment_243" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Sources: Literacy Rates, Lee & Lee, Population & UN, Our World in Data[/caption] [caption id="attachment_245" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Mean Years of Schooling[/caption]
As we can see, the US has been holding its top rank in literacy rates ever since. Yet, the US Department of Education still reports 54% of US adults between ages 16-74 (which adds up to 130 million people) lack proficiency in literacy-below the standards of a sixth grader. Keeping in mind that literacy is directly related to several other outcomes including personal (and family) incomes, employment, health, as well as the overall economic growth of a country, the impact may eventually result in enormous losses to the country’s GDP as well.
A report by Forbes, 2020 clearly states that such low literacy levels among the US adults could be costing the economy a hefty $2.2 trillion annually. Further, the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (or, PIAAC), that classifies literacy into five levels, counts adults at and above level 3 to be fully literate. A study by Rothwell found that if all US adults were able to move up to at least level 3 of PIAAC, an additional annual income of $2.2 trillion could be generated for the country, which is equivalent to 10% of the gross domestic product.
It also states that areas with the lowest literacy levels would gain the most. For example, in Alabama, approximately 60% adults fall below level 3 of the literacy levels of PIAAC. If all of them could somehow be moved up to level 3, Alabama’s GDP would increase by 15.6%. However, in Washington, where only 47% of the population fall below level 3 of PIAAC, the local GNP would gain just 5% by eradicating illiteracy.
And how can digital marketing help transform the minimal acquired level of literacy from level 1 or 2 to level 3?
First, getting acquainted with the US educational system is important.
The educational structure in the US comprises of 3 segments:
Considering level 3 of PIAAC to be defined as equivalent to literacy levels at age 9-11 (or, grades 4 to 6), we land on a conclusive target to aim digital marketing in the education sector at: parents having kid(s) aged 11 and below. Or, collectively, the parents whose kids are (or supposed to be) attending primary school or about to enter middle schools.
Having aims set towards the right base market, execution and effectiveness of the marketing campaign strategy will be able to fetch a head start right from the initial days itself. Here, the point to be more concerned about is, kids whose parents have low reading levels, have more than 70% chances of being the lowest reading levels themselves. And, these children are more likely to score poor grades, have behavioral problems, have high rates of absence, repeat school years, and/or drop out, as per the National Bureau of Economic Research (or, NBER).
Hence, having the right modes of digital marketing is essential in this case. Mostly, marketing strategies that does not involve any kind of “reading” elements should be considered. Effective visualization and sound technologies can be put to use in such circumstances. It can be a well-thought and well-executed video that explains to such parents how providing proper education to their kids will help secure all of their lives from a financial point of view in the near future. It can be just an audio clip explaining how an adult couldn’t build a strong career because of having dropped out from school at an early age. Also, if enough investment is possible, marketing with an affiliate or any influencer can be an effective tool if used strategically to show how much success can be achieved if education is given importance and top priority in one’s life as a kid.
Further popularizing these campaigns with the help of social media marketing will be an added advantage to reach out significant numbers of the target audience faster and also for having a better communication channel with them.
Today, there exist “two-generation” programs too, that afford education
Digital Piloto, May 16, 2021
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