By Arab News
Saudi Arabia has made major strides in illiteracy eradication over the past 40 years.
“The Kingdom brought down the level of illiteracy in the country from 60 percent in 1972 to 4 percent in 2012,” an statement issued by the Ministry of Education on the occasion of the World Day of Illiteracy Eradication today. The Kingdom started efforts to eradicate illiteracy by educating adults in 1954, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Friday.
According to the ministry’s recent web posting the general realization to get educated has made students join schools in all parts of the Kingdom and pushed up the rate of children going to school to 98.7 percent.
“However, the efforts to educate elderly people, who missed their chance to be literate previously, have been continuing without any letup,” Undersecretary for Boys Education at the Ministry of Education Abdul Rahman Al-Barrak said, adding that the efforts would not end until all old people acquire learning skills.
He said the Kingdom succeeded in making a drastic cut in the level of illiterates because of the encouragement received from the government.
The old Qur’an schools and the private schools played a significant role in spreading literacy among all sections of the people until the General Secretariat for Adult Education was established in 1984.
The first syllabus for the adult education and illiteracy eradication was laid down in 1956. A major feature of the syllabus was to reduce the period of education to three years and then one more year was added to the plan. The four-year study was followed by a period of follow up and after that the adult was eligible for a primary school certificate.
In 1972, the Adult Education and Illiteracy Eradication Regulation was issued. The regulation defined the general policy for education and literacy drives underscoring the obligation of the state and the private sector in educating the aged people. A committee was also set up under the minister of education. The committee also issued some statutes aimed at adult education plans keeping in line with the world developments in the topic.
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According to the latest official study there are 3,085 adult schools with 82,797 male and female students in the Kingdom. More than 10,200 teachers are serving in those schools. While the study put the number of male schools at 729 with 12,638 men studying in them, there are 2,358 women’s schools in which 70,158 women are studying. The Kingdom had also received several international awards in appreciation of it success in the eradication of illiteracy and other efforts to spread education.