Primary study: 30, 000 university graduates to combat illiteracy [Archives:2008/1188/Front Page]

September 8 2008

Almigdad Mojalli
SANA'A, Sep. 6 ) The Minister of Education stated that the ministry is preparing a primary study to employ 30,000 university graduates under the program of Eradicating Illiteracy. “We are preparing a primary study to employ at least 30,000 university graduates under the Eradicating Illiteracy Program,” Minister of Education Abd Al-Salam Muhammad Hizam Al-Jawfi said.

According to Al-Jawfi, the illiteracy rate in Yemen was 63 percent during the1990s, but has now decreased to less than 45 percent. “The efforts exerted by the government, NGOs and international organizations, the spread of schools, primary education and the redistributing of teachers helped a lot in decreasing the illiteracy rate,” Al-Jawfi affirmed.

He also said that the illiteracy rate is expected to decrease to 20 percent by 2013.

Official statistics have recently revealed that the illiteracy rate in Yemen has dropped from 56 percent to 45.7 percent in children aged 10 years. The statistics also show that there are more illiterate women in Yemen than there are illiterate men. According to the Department of Eradicating Illiteracy, the illiteracy rate stands at 29.8 percent for men, whereas it is 62.1 percent for women.

Despite the remarkable efforts that have been exerted towards implementing many literacy programs and improving the educational capacities of local teachers, the level of educational achievement of Yemen's adult population is among the lowest in the world.

Education specialists say illiteracy in Yemen is most rife in rural areas, where 75 percent of the population lives. These areas suffer from a lack of basic services, especially schools, which makes it difficult for some to receive education, according to Dr Arwa Al-Deram, executive director of SOUL, an NGO dealing with education.

According to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), access to education is still one of the biggest challenges facing children in Yemen, especially girls. Because of the scarcity of schools in rural areas, children have to travel long distances for education. Nearly half of primary-school-age girls do not go to school.

Established in 1997, SOUL is a non-governmental and non-profit Yemeni organization committed to raising the quality of life for Yemeni women and children.

According to the general director of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), a staggering 774 million adults worldwide are illiterate which means that the organization is far from reaching its goal of halving the number of illiterate parents around the world by 2015.

Even though the literacy rate has risen, the absolute number of illiterates has increased in some regions due to population growth. “Nearly ten million children die before reaching the age five, most often of preventable infectious diseases, and it is children of the poor who are most likely to be treated for serious illnesses,” said the general director.

Literacy levels have a direct impact on health-seeking behaviors, with the risk of contracting malaria increasing significantly amongst the illiterate population. In addition, women with secondary education are five times more likely than illiterate women to know facts about HIV and AIDS.