06.10.2011 - UNESCO Office in Kabul

National Conference on Literacy and Peace

@UNESCO/M.Amin Sadiqi-----H.E. Mr. Karim Khalili, the Second Afghan Vice President

The theme of this year’s international literacy day was the relation between literacy and peace. The Afghan Ministry of Education (MoE) organized a national conference on 04 October on the theme of “literacy and Peace” to highlight the role of literacy in sustainable peace building in the country.

H.E. Mr. Kharim Khalili the second Vice President of Afghanistan called the ‘mass Afghan illiteracy’ as the main cause of current insecurity and destruction in the country and said, “the Afghan government has placed the highest priority on tackling illiteracy countrywide and the support of international community and all Afghans are crucial to achieve this very important goal.”

The conference was attended by the literacy stakeholders as well as the religious scholars from different parts of the country who highlighted the importance of literacy from the religious perspective. Mr. Jawadi, a religious leader and member of the Afghanistan’s Clergy Council, stressed that Islam has patronized literacy and education from the very beginning days. “The first words of Allah to prophet Mohammad was iqra, which means ‘read’ and this shows the importance of reading and knowledge as the foundation of any activity in Islam”, he said.

The conference was organized with the support of literacy stakeholders and was the first as such to be organized in recent years. H.E. Mr. Farooq Wardak pointed out the significant achievements made so far in the education sector. He mentioned that in the current year alone, 600,000 Afghan illiterates will be equipped with literacy skills across the country. He thanked the international partners including UNESCO whose Enhancement of Literacy in Afghanistan (ELA) programme is one of the biggest literacy interventions being implemented in 18 provinces of Afghanistan. Funded by the government of Japan and being implemented jointly by UNESCO and MoE, the ELA programme will provide literacy skills to 600,000 illiterates by 2013 which include 60% female.

The conference concluded with participants’ call on literacy stakeholders to do their best on fighting the illiteracy problem. The religious leaders were recognized as important actors on awareness raising in society on the importance of literacy from Islamic perspective and the strong linkage of literacy and peace.

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