If you can read this sentence, you may not even think twice about the simple act of reading. However, almost 700 million children in the world are unable to read and understand a simple text by the time they are 10 years old. The World Bank has defined this as learning poverty. And, learning poverty should be zero everywhere. 

All children should be able to read by 10 – this is critical for anyone to be able to fully participate in society. Around the world, reading has been at the core of formal education for centuries. Being able to read is fundamental for children to be able to learn other subjects like science and history. It also creates opportunities and opens more doors for them as they get older. 

We want to hear from you! Get creative and tell us in your own words what you think can be done differently to help children read by the age of 10. 

You can do so by answering one of these two questions: 

  • What could teachers and schools do differently to help all children learn to read? 
  • If you were the education minister of your country what would you do to make sure every 10-year old is able to read? 

This is your chance to get creative. The World Bank Group and the Financial Times are organizing our second joint global blog/essay writing competition. This competition builds on the World Bank Group’s Human Capital Project and its Report on Ending Learning Poverty.  

We are looking for your most inventive ideas, high quality writing, and innovative solutions to improve education outcomes for the next generation. 

Be clever, be persuasive – and be bold!

Submissions should include:

  • A strong blog or essay, that is no longer than 500 words. 
  • Photos, videos, visualizations that help support your story, are optional. 
  • Your name, age, school, email, and country you live in. 

How to enter:

Send us your blog entry by applying on this form. 


Submissions are due by midnight February 10th, 2020 EST. 


Entries will be judged by a high-level panel comprised of senior officials at the World Bank Group, the Financial Times, and select partners. The full names of the judges can be made available on request. Judging will take place during February 2020 and winners will be contacted and announced in late March 2020 on the World Bank Group blog and Financial Times website, unless a winner objects to publication of their name at the time of entry. Entries will be judged against originality, creativity, writing quality, and solutions presented. The judging panel’s decision is final, and no correspondence will be entered into. Winners will be contacted via the contact information provided with their submission.


The winning entry will be published in the Financial Times (at its sole discretion), the World Bank Group blog, and the winner will be brought with reasonable expenses covered to the World Bank Group Spring Meetings in Washington D.C. in April 2020, provided he/she is able to travel and assumes responsibility for obtaining a visa to the United States. Winners below 18 years will need a guardian’s permission to travel. 

Terms and Conditions

  • Entries should be original content and cannot have been previously published or lifted from other sources. By submitting an entry, entrants grant to The World Bank Group and The Financial Times Limited (“FT”) a worldwide, perpetual, non-exclusive, royalty free license to copy, edit, publish and use the entry, in whole or in part, and in any way, including for publishing on the World Bank Group’s blog platform and, at the FT’s sole discretion, on, without compensation to the entrant. Rights to edit copy where the publishers deem necessary is reserved although entrants will be fully credited.
  • Entries should be the work of the submitter and cannot be collaborative or written by a proxy. 
  • Participants must be enrolled in high school or a version of secondary education and should be between the ages of 16-19 years.
  • Entries are only to be submitted in English. 
  • There is no fee payable to enter the competition.
  • The World Bank Group and FT are not responsible for (i) any incorrect or inaccurate information used in connection with the competition; or (ii) failures or errors which may occur in the administration of the competition. To the fullest extent permitted by law, The World Bank Group and FT exclude liability and entrants agree to release and hold harmless The World Bank Group and FT for any damage, loss, liability or injury to person or property or for any claim arising as a result of your entry into the competition.
  • These terms and conditions and the competition will be governed by English law and any disputes arising shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English Courts.
  • Preservation of Immunities. Nothing herein shall constitute or be considered to be a limitation upon or a waiver of the privileges and immunities of the World Bank Group which are specifically reserved.
  • The promoter is the World Bank Group of 1818 H Street NW, Washington DC 20433.
  • Schools with multiple students entering the contest are encouraged to register the school here:

Follow Link to Apply