During the convention of Arab ministers of education, which was held last month in Tunis, an internal report was presented by the Arab organization for education, culture and science (Alikso). The report was published last week on "Al Hayatt" newspaper. The report states that the portion of illiterate Arabs in the Arab world is twice the number in the world.
The report further states that the number of illiterate over the age of 15 is in constant rise in the last 30 years in the Arab world: from 50 million in 1970 to 61 million in 1990 and 70 million this year - 35% of the Arab population. At the same time, the general world population enjoyed a sharp decline in illiteracy from 73% in 1970 down to 19% today.
According to the Report, Egypt has the largest illiterate community with 17 million. After Egypt come Sudan, Algeria, Morocco and Yemen. The countries with the least illiterate are Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and the PA.
The Alikso report observes that this year will mark the first time when the Arab illiterate ratio becomes first in the world, after taking that position from the African countries. The report details sections that have high rate of illiteracy: children between 15-19 and women, with close to 50% illiteracy.
The report determines that Arab states have failed their obligations to maintain the same percentage of illiteracy. The obligation was taken in the World Convention in Thailand in 1990. The report emphasized that the Arab countries must put the fight on illiteracy as first priority and should do all that is in their power to deal with the "dangerous gaps" between the sexes and economical classes. The report specifically mentioned women in rural areas as a good starting place and stated that refugees, immigrants and prisoners should not be neglected.
In addition, Dr. Muhammad Abu Ahmad from Tunis stated that only 0.2% of the Internet surfing community come from Arab countries.
* translated from Ynet.