Monday, 28 April 2014

Literacy rate growing globally but still high discrepancies between men and women and among rich and poor countries.

The UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) has released in September 2013 the latest data on the world literacy rates for adult ( people aged >=15) and young individuals ( people aged between 15-24). Approximately, percentages are growing for both classes. However, considerable discrepancies are still present among developed and developing countries and between men and women.

Women count for almost half a billion of illiterate adults worldwide (774 million) .The lowest literacy rates are observed in sub-Saharan Africa and in South and West Asia (see Figure 1). Adult literacy rates were below 50% in the following 11 countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Ethiopia, Guinea, Haiti, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Sierra Leone. In Central and Eastern Europe, Central Asia, East Asia and the Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean, the average adult and youth literacy rates were greater than 90% (see Figure 2). No regional averages are available for North America and Western Europe due to limited data coverage. It is important to note that regional averages can mask disparities at the country level. This is most apparent in sub-Saharan Africa, where the adult literacy rate ranges from 25% in Guinea to 94% in Equatorial Guinea. 

Literacy is a fundamental human right.  It is fully essential to social and human development in its ability to transform lives. For individuals, families, and societies alike. This right is stated in the purview of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in article 26 hereafter reported:

Article 26. 

(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace. 
(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children. 

The uses of literacy for the exchange of knowledge are constantly evolving, along with advances in technology. UNESCO developed various initiatives to promote literacy. For over 65 years UNESCO has worked to ensure that literacy remains a priority on national and international agendas. A number of initiatives like the UNESCO International Literary Prizes or the World Book Capital City now at its 14th edition were launched by the Organization to realize the vision of a literate world for all. 
The Organization is particularly active in projects supporting the growth of women' literary rate.The publication on the left reports successful examples of activities carried out in various countries like Turkey, Brasil and Senegal.

Further reading:
Adult and youth literacy. National, regional and global trends, 1985-2015
Adult and youth literacy (UIS Fact sheet September 2013)

No comments:

Post a Comment