Friday, September 11, 2015

Illiteracy rate fell by eight percent in a decade

The illiteracy rate in Mozambique fell by eight percentage points in the first decade of this century, Education Minister Jorge Ferrao declared in Maputo on Tuesday, at the launch of International Literacy Week, which runs from 1 to 8 September.In 2000, 56 per cent of the adult population was illiterate, and this figure dropped to 48 per cent by 2010.But this is not exactly a revelation. As Ferrao admitted, the reduction was first announced in 2010 by his predecessor Zeferino Martins. There are no more recent figures, but Ferrao expected an update when the National Statistics Institute announces the results of the Household Survey currently under way. 
The Minister attributed the decline in illiteracy to the efforts of the government and its partners in the Literacy and Adult Education programme. The government’s strategies in this area have allowed the development of a new adult education curriculum which includes literacy classes, not only in Portuguese, but also in Mozambican languages. Despite the improvement in the literacy figures, Ferrao said that illiteracy remains a serious concern. The statistics show, he added, that there is a much higher rate of illiteracy among women than among men, and that a higher proportion of adults in the countryside than in the towns are unable to read and write.The statistics also showed a regional gap. “As we move from the south to the north, the illiteracy rates tend to increase”, said Ferrao. The worst figures were found in the northernmost provinces of Niassa and Cabo Delgado.In the context of information and communication technologies, he added, the government must be more creative in offering attractive platforms that encourage learning among adults and youths, and reduce the absenteeism and drop-out rates in literacy courses.The government’s target, announced in 2010, was to bring the illiteracy rate down to 30 per cent by this year, 2015. In the absence of an up-to-date statistical survey, it is still impossible to judge whether this target has been met.

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