Literacy in SIL
The Scope of SIL Literacy Work
Since 1935 SIL has been pioneering the study, development, and documentation of minority languages. A sense of the scope of this 50+ year effort is reflected in the following statistics:
- SIL has carried out linguistic research in 1,359 languages in more than 50 countries.
- Presently SIL has active work in some 1,000 languages in more than 50 countries.
- SIL has carried out work in literacy, community development, and education in approximately 760 languages spoken by more than 70 million people. In 325 of these 760 cases, SIL introduced literacy in the vernacular language for the first time.
- SIL has developed writing systems for more than 800 languages.
- To date, more than 12,000 titles of pedagogical and vernacular materials have been written, published, and distributed in more than 1,200 languages (see the SIL Bibliography.) Hundreds of thousands of local teachers have been trained and an estimated 40,00050,000 rural villages and hamlets now have access to literacy as a result of SIL's work.
- An estimated 2 million people have become literate as a direct result of SIL's work in literacy. Unknown additional millions have become literate as an indirect result of this work.
- 5 national level bilingual education programs have been organized and institutionalized with SIL assistance.
The statistics reflect only one dimension of SIL's contribution. Beyond its work in grassroots human development, SIL has also sought to foster, in the countries where it is appropriate, constructive national policies towards the minorities. In numerous instances, the result has been the adoption of supportive policies favoring minority people regarding literacy, education, and language development. Furthermore, as a consulting member to UNESCO, SIL contributes internationally to a better understanding of the dimensions of minority language literacy.