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Laos pursues goal to banish illiteracy

Laos is working towards its target to wipe out illiteracy in all of the country's 148 districts, with 89 districts having already been declared literate.

Minister of Education and Sports Ms Sengdeuane Lachanthaboun spoke about the government's determination to eradicate illiteracy at an event on Tuesday to mark the 52th International Literacy Day on September 8.

The goal for Laos is to achieve literacy in all 148 districts and to this end the ministry is focusing its efforts on 30 districts where the standard of education is known to be poor.

The ministry is aiming for everyone aged 15-35 to complete the equivalent of lower secondary schooling by 2020.

This is a major step on the way to achieving the vision for 2030, which would see every Lao citizen completing the equivalent of upper secondary school. According to a report from the ministry, last academic year 19,918 people completed primary school education including 10,611 females.

Some 41,530 people completed lower secondary school including 19,129 women, while 1,864 completed upper secondary school including 591 women.

Some 9,564 youths were declared literate including 5,137 women aged over 15.

Laos' new focus is raising standards at primary and secondary schools to meet the ambitious 2020 target, especially by improving education in rural areas.

Director-General of UNESCO Ms Irina Bokova delivered a message to mark the 52th International Literacy Day, noting that 750 million adults worldwide still lack even the most basic literacy skills. Some 264 million children and youth are not benefiting from school education. Furthermore, international surveys show that a large share of adult and youth populations all over the world, including in developed countries, are inadequately equipped with the basic digital skills required to function fully in today's societies and workplace. Narrowing this skills gap is an educational and developmental imperative.

Information and communication technologies are creating opportunities to address this challenge, the message stated. Digital tools can help expand access to learning and improve its quality. They have the power to reach the unreached, improve the monitoring of literacy progress, facilitate skills assessment, and make the management and governance of skills delivery systems more efficient.

International Literacy Day offers a moment to review progress and come together to tackle the challenges ahead. This year, the event is devoted to better understanding the type of literacy required in a digital world to build more inclusive, equitable and sustainable societies.

Everyone should be able to make the most of the benefits of the new digital age, for human rights, for dialogue and exchange, and for more sustainable development, Ms Bokova said in the message.

By Times Reporters
(Latest Update September 7, 2017)

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