Iraqi Government Takes On Illiteracy

By Ali Abel Sadah for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraqi authorities have decided to establish more than 500 literacy centers, after the Ministry of Education, led by Sunni politician Mohammad Tamim (pictured), acknowledged that the illiteracy rate in Iraq had risen to 22%.

The spokesman for the Commission for Literacy, Yehya al-Saffah, told Al-Monitor, “Around 5,000 illiterate individuals will enroll in the new centers.”

Saffah added, “We are trying to reduce the illiteracy rate, which has reached nearly a quarter of the population. It currently stands at 22%.”

The ministry announced in an official statement that it seeks to employ teachers to open classrooms in the newly established literacy centers.

In September 2012, the Iraqi government decided to allocate sufficient funds for the literacy project, and the Ministry of Finance, led by Sunni leader Rafi al-Issawi, requested it specify the exact amounts of these funds but did not receive them.

The illiteracy rate in Iraq in 1977 was about 53%, according to the official documents issued by the Ministry of Planning, but this ratio dropped to 27% in 1987, after the issuance of the compulsory decision of the National Literacy Campaign.

Yet the government’s literacy program may fail due to the lack of funds and teaching staff in a number of provinces.

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