UNESCO Praises the Iraqi Parliament for Approval of the New Literacy Law
UNESCO praises the Iraqi Parliament and Government for the approval of the new literacy law on the occasion of International Literacy Day, 8th September 2011.
“This is an important step towards the achievement of the literacy goal of reducing illiteracy by 50% by 2015 in Iraq”, said Mohamed Djelid, Director of the UNESCO Iraq Office, adding that “the new literacy law is the result of large consultation and cooperation between Iraqi authorities, civil society and UNESCO and this will enable the launching of an effective national literacy campaign in Iraq.”
National illiteracy rates are estimated at 20% in Iraq. Women are particularly affected by illiteracy, especially in rural areas, where close to 50% of women aged between 15 and 24 are illiterate, compared to 28%-20% of women living in urban and metropolitan areas. The Government of Iraq (GoI) has responded to the literacy gap with the development of new literacy textbooks, the introduction of accelerated learning programs, and the opening of new literacy centers. However equal access and attendance remain obstacles to progress on literacy in Iraq.
To address these challenges, the UNESCO Iraq Office launched the Literacy Initiative for Empowerment (LIFE) for Iraq with funding from the Office of Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, First Lady of Qatar and UNESCO’s Special Envoy for Basic and Higher Education, in 2010 following the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding between UNESCO and the Government of Iraq in 2009. LIFE will contribute to strengthen the capacity of the Iraqi Government and Civil Society to deliver sustainable and empowering literacy for all. Achievements so far include: capacity building towards the development of a National Literacy Strategy 2010-2015; development of new literacy materials and curricula; establishment of the National Literacy Network for Iraq with 260 national NGOs in partnership with the Iraqi Ministry of Education; launching of the NGO Grant Literacy and Life Skills Program for the establishment of pilot community learning centers in vulnerable areas; and launching of advocacy campaigns at community level targeting vulnerable women and youth.
Mohamed Djelid said “UNESCO will support the Iraqi Government towards the implementation of the law and the building of necessary institutional and human capacity in order to meet the learning needs of illiterates in Iraq and to contribute to the building of a literate and prosperous society in Iraq”