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Eliminating Illiteracy/
Educating Humanity

Preferred State:
Literacy for 100% of humanity

Problem State:
Nearly 1 billion people are illiterate

Strategy 5: Satellite/Television Literacy Campaign

An unbalanced approach to security has left many developing nations with more soldiers than teachers and more citizens illiterate than literate.[75] In developing countries about 130 million children of primary school age (6 to 11 age-group) and 275 million at secondary level are not in school.[76] While traditional efforts to increase attendance can have some effect, school systems in most developing countries will need assistance in attracting and keeping enrolled all school-age children. Furthermore, developing nations could not afford the enormous construction and infrastructure costs required to provide a US style "traditional" schooling for all its children. If any developing country were to spend what the US spends on its students, it would be bankrupt within weeks.[77]

We have known for over twenty years that people can be taught to read, write and do basic arithmetic through television. Using available technologies, all children and adults who are not currently exposed to traditional education can become literate through educational television. The hardware to implement such a program throughout the world where illiteracy is rampant would consist of ten to twelve communications satellites, approximately 10 million television receivers and satellite dish receivers, and an equal number of solar-powered photovoltaic and storage battery units. The television receiver units would go first to the 1.16 million teachers in the 41 least developed countries, followed by teachers in developing countries with the highest illiteracy rates.[78] The satellites and their launching would be about an additional $2 billion.[79]

In this plan, the software, the actual television programming, would be the "expensive" part. It would be created by special teams assembled from each unique culture. These teams, made up of educators, poets, scientists, musicians and other leaders in their fields would celebrate the diversity of each culture, instead of homogenizing it through programming that is similar or identical to American or other programming. In addition to literacy programming, such an educational infrastructure could be the vehicle for programming on health maintenance, sanitation measures, agricultural productivity and other benefits to society.

There is a direct and strong correlation between increased literacy and elevated worker productivity and higher GNP.[80] Life expectancy, infant mortality and income per capita are also improved by education.[81] In addition, a production order for photovoltaics for an effort of this size would lower their price so substantially that they would now be inexpensive enough to use in the developed world as a replacement for centralized electric power plants[82] -- thereby lowering the amount of carbon being put into the atmosphere by fossil-fueled power plants and eliminating the need for nuclear power plants entirely.[83]


The costs of launching a satellite network, providing solar-powered television sets and satellite receivers to villages without adequate schools and developing appropriate programming for the satellite-based education initiative would total about $2 billion per year for twenty years.[84] This is less than the cost of one B-2 bomber. Supplying textbooks, teaching aids, in-service teacher training and supervision would cost about $3 billion additional per year. The total amount, $5 billion per year, is about 0.06% of the world's total annual military expenditures, or 0.05% of worldwide annual illegal drug sales, or 5% of the cost of the Gulf War, or what the US spends on video game software in 14 months.[85]

Benefits of an improved education and literacy program would include enhancing the quality of life for newly literate citizens now able to access written media, longer and healthier life spans attributable to easier and wider communication of sanitation and other simple disease prevention techniques, increased job skills and employment options, a more attractive local economy to outside investment, an increase in GDP,[86] a reduction in industrial and agricultural accidents as warning signs and instructions can be read by a wider population, and increased political participation.

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What the World Wants Chart

Eliminate Starvation and Malnutrition: $19 billion Eliminate Starvation & Malnutrition: $19 billion Provide Health Care and AIDS Control: $21 billion Provide Health Care and AIDS Control: $21 billion Provide Shelter: $21 billion Provide Shelter: $21 billion Provide Clean, Safe Water: $10 billion Elliminate Illiteracy: $5 billion Provide Clean, Safe Energy--Energy Efficiency: $33 billion Provide Clean, Safe Energy--Energy Efficiency: $33 billion Provide Clean, Safe Energy--Energy Efficiency: $33 billion Provide Clean, Safe Energy--Renewable Energy: $17 billion Provide Clean, Safe Energy--Renewable Energy: $17 billion Provide Clean, Safe Energy--Renewable Energy: $17 billion Retire Developing Nations Debt: $30 billion Stabilize Population: $10.5 billion Stabilize Population: $10.5 billion Prevent Soil Erosion: $24 billion Prevent Soil Erosion: $24 billion Stop Deforestation: $7 billion Stop Deforestation: $7 billion Stop Ozone Depletion: $5 billion Prevent Acid Rain: $8 billion Prevent Global Warming: $8 billion Prevent Global Warming: $8 billion Prevent Global Warming: $8 billion Remove Landmines: $2 billion Refugee Relief: $5 billion Refugee Relief: $5 billion Eliminate Nucleanr Weapons: $7 billion Eliminate Nuclear Weapons: $7 billion Eliminate Nuclear Weapons: $7 billion Build Democracy: $2 billion
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