Gov’t Gets Tough on Illiteracy

Gov’t Gets Tough on IlliteracyGov’t Gets Tough on Illiteracy

The government plans to take stern measures including some “social restrictions” on illiterates aged 10-50 from the next Iranian year (starts March 21, 2016), to fight illiteracy. The targeted group has a year’s time to join the literacy movement, said deputy minister of education Ali Bagherzadeh, at a press conference in Gorgan - the capital of Golestan Province.

“If they don’t participate in the literacy classes by the end of this year (started March 21), they will face some constraints such as non-renewal of driving licenses and business permits, and also will be deprived of special pension grants,” stressed Bagherzadeh, who also heads the Literacy Movement Organization (LMO), IRNA reported.

There were 3.46 million illiterates aged 10-50 in 2011, of which 400,000 were legal migrant refugees (Afghan), he said, adding: “Due to the measures taken to tackle illiteracy, the figure has decreased to 1.7-1.8 million currently.”

“Women constitute two-thirds of the illiterates, and the proportion is the same for rural and urban areas,” he said, noting that the provinces of Sistan and Baluchestan, Kerman, West Azerbaijan, and Kurdistan top the list with the largest number of illiterates. On the other hand, the highest number of literates is in Mazandaran, Tehran, Alborz, Semnan and Isfahan provinces.

  Other Measures

Pointing to the LMO’s literacy plans for the year, supported by the government, he said: “Imparting reading and writing skills to illiterate parents (numbering 600,000) and educating 10-20 year-old illiterates (numbering 74,000) are among the objectives.”

The educational content is equivalent to the third grade of primary school and comprises reading and writing skills, mathematics, and Qur’an reading. The government has estimated the cost of educating each individual at 6,200,000 rials ($180), besides expenditure on books and stationery.

Pointing to a 16% increase in LMO’s funds in the current year, he said: “Establishing local educational centers is another program to be implemented in some provinces as a pilot to promote civil rights, career and social skills.”

By providing a quarter of the education costs, the government will financially support non-state organizations that conduct 90% of literacy activities in terms of identifying vulnerable children and educating them. The real challenge facing the LMO is lack of motivation among the targeted groups, Bagherzadeh added.