Tuesday, August 07, 2007

UNESCO calls for international support for literacy

"The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) called for international support and made proposals to address the challenges of reducing illiteracy. And China is confident to reduce its illiterate population by half by 2015.

"Mr. Koichiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, said on July 31 in Beijing at the UNESCO Regional Conference in Support of Global Literacy that 774 million adults around the world cannot read or write, of whom two-thirds are women.

"The latest data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics shows some 72.1 million children are out of school. Fees are the main barrier of the access to primary schools. And in 89 countries fees are still charged to be admitted to primary schools......

"Dr. Qian Tang, UNESCO Deputy Assistant Director-General for Education, highlighted at the press conference on August 1 proposals as results of the literacy conference, including government’s leading role, planning and implementation of measures in the context of the specific groups, partnership with local institutions, the application of new technologies and the establishment of benchmarks.

"Dr. Tang said UNESCO appreciated greatly China’s contribution in the forms of both experience sharing and financial aid. UNESCO’s literacy initiatives value the South-South cooperation and China has set a "good example" on this regard, Tang commented."

The Conferences build upon the work begun at the White House Conference on Global Literacy and are organized in the framework of the United Nations Literacy Decade (UNLD) and UNESCO's Literacy Initiative for Empowerment (LIFE).

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