By analyzing data from 56 countries and conducting a qualitative analysis of the cases of Singapore and Burundi, this study identifies a compelling link between Learning Poverty and linguistic discordance—showing a pronounced positive correlation between lower country-level literacy outcomes and higher misalignment between students' home language and the language of instruction at school. Critically, this comparative study reveals this correlation as most pronounced in middle-income countries and demonstrates the need to attend carefully to local contexts. Findings call for prioritizing research and policy attention to language of instruction and linguistic discordance globally toward achieving basic education for all.

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