Zain: You're here in Paris, for an important event, you're going to be talking about literacy worldwide. What is your one key message?
Laura: Well, the one key message is how important it is to read and how governments really need to focus their priorities on making sure everybody in their countries can read and that's what UNESCO does. UNESCO is the big U.N. agency that has education as part of its charge and this is the decade of literacy and the decade will be over in 2012 so we've got a lot of work to do to make sure people learn to read between now and then.
Zain: How do you make governments have literacy a priority? Because if you look at Africa, you look at Asia and so many other places around the world, governments have to struggle with so many other things there's corruptions and there's.... how do you do it?
Laura: Well, what UNESCO is trying to do is focus on the 34 most illiterate countries the countries with the highest rates of illiteracy. They have two programs, one is an assessment program, so they will help governments really assess how many people are illiterate who they are, where they are and what they can do to intervene in their lives... and then the other program out of UNESCO is called LEAP and it's an adult literacy program and its an adult literacy program and of course most of the people who are illiterate in the world... and they think... 700 million people who are illiterate I think it is, it's really a lot around the world that are illiterate... Watch the full interview with Laura Bush »
Zain: So it's really a way to put pressure on governments?
Laura: That's right and to help them in whatever way they can, because you're right, the countries with the highest illiteracy are also the poorest, they are the countries with the least capacity to be able to build education systems.
Saturday, December 05, 2009
Recently, CNN Zain Vargee interviewed Laura Bush in Paris where she was attending a UNESCO meeting. I quote from the transcript: