Literacy Day: Reading - Still But a Dream for Most Afghans

Despite many efforts which are underway to ensure quality education and to open access to literacy education, the illiteracy rate in Afghanistan is still high. According to optimistic estimations the illiteracy rate in Afghanistan is 62 % and is considered among the highest in the world. DVV International and partners like ANAFAE fight to improve the situation, but they require more attention and support.

This year, the world marks the 50th anniversary of International Literacy Day Reading the Past, Writing the Future will be the key title of that important day and in 2016 it celebrates and honours the past five decades of national and international engagement, efforts and progress made to increase literacy rates around the world. It also addresses current challenges and looks to innovative solutions to further boost literacy in the future.

Despite many efforts which are underway to ensure quality education and to open access to literacy education, the illiteracy rate in Afghanistan is still high. According to optimistic estimations the illiteracy rate in Afghanistan is 62 % and is considered among the highest in the world.This high illiteracy rate is definitely hindering the development of the country.In Afghanistan, the ambassador for the literacy education, first lady Rula Ghani and the Ministry of Education (MoE) announced a national literacy mobilization campaign, to eradicate illiteracy across the country, based on a presidential order.The Afghan government planned to mark this day by organizing a ceremony program in the presidential house this year.At present, external and national support to literacy development is diminishing. More support should be given, in order to decrease the illiteracy rate in Afghanistan.

Education is a basis for other rights

More financial investment is needed to provide pathways to technical and vocational education, to lifelong learning, life skills, and better linkages to work life and the labor market for the youth.Many organisations active in Literacy Education around the country and those who are members of the National Literacy Education Coordination, the LIFE Group, recommend to doubling the efforts. At least 6% of a country’s GDP should be invested on Education in Afghanistan. At present, only 3.7 percent of the GDP is being spent on education.The government should raise this amount in order to meet the needs of the education sector.

Education is a human right and a basis for guaranteeing the realization of other rights. It is essential for peace, tolerance, and a key driver for a sustainable development of the country.In the light of the upcoming Brussels Conference on Afghanistan, ANAFAE and DVV International request that the international community should increase the amounts that they pledge in the education sector. Tackling illiteracy will help tackle many of Afghanistan’s other problems as well.Ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all is a key to achieve the other proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and a key to achieving employment and poverty eradication.

Launching Global Alliance for Literacy

Now International Literacy Day is celebrated worldwide, bringing together governments, multi- and bilateral organizations, NGOs, private sectors, communities, teachers, learners and experts in the field.The main global celebration of the day will take place at UNESCO Headquarter, Paris in the form of a two-day conference on 8 - 9 September. At the same time the Global Alliance for Literacy (GAL) will be launched, a new and ambitious initiative to make all major stakeholders pull together to promote literacy as a foundation for lifelong learning.

On this day also International Literacy Prizes are awarded to people with outstanding solutions that can drive literacy towards achieving the new 2030 Education Agenda. This year the focus is on innovation.Fifty years ago, UNESCO officially proclaimed September 8, the International Literacy Day to actively mobilize the international community and to promote literacy as an instrument to empower individuals, communities and societies.

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