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11 million Afghans are illiterate, says UNESCO

11 million Afghans are illiterate, says UNESCO

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Nov 20, 2016 - 23:04

KABUL (Pajhwok): The United Nations Educational and Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Sunday said there were 11 million illiterate people in Afghanistan.

UNESCO representative in Afghanistan, Patricia McPhillips, attended a gathering in Kabul that appreciated work of some non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the area of literacy.

Patricia McPhillips criticized the Afghan government’s lack of attention towards remote areas and said illiteracy had not been a priority of the government in the past 15 years.

She said currently there were 11 million illiterate people, a majority of them women, in Afghanistan and they constituted 34 percent of the country’s population.

She said it was estimated that 40 percent men and 63 percent women in rural areas of Afghanistan were uneducated.

The UNESCO representative said her organization was working on a joint program with the Afghan Ministry of Education to educate all Afghans until 2030 in cooperation with some countries including Japan, Finland and Sweden.

Also present on the occasion was First Lady Rula Ghani who appreciated UNESCO’s and the Education Ministry’s efforts and hoped the joint program would help overcome illiteracy in Afghanistan until 2030.

“When all Afghans will become educated, they will play a key role in their country’s development and peace.”

Acting Education Minister Asadullah Hanif Balkhi said available statistics showed the country’s 40 percent population was literate and the remaining 60 percent could not write and read.

Later on behalf of UNESCO, the First Lady presented “BiBi Gul Appreciation Letters” to three nominated NGOs.

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