UNESCO Regional Conference on Global Literacy begins in New Delhi on Thursday.
It is being organised by the India's Ministry of Human Resource Development, Department of School Education and Literacy with UNESCO begins Thursday at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi with the participation of Ali Bagherzadeh Faroji, Vice Minister for General Education of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Education and Finance Ministers of the 14 countries of the region namely, Islamic Republic of Iran, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are among the other dignitaries expected to attend the two day conference which will be inaugurated by M A A Fatmi, Minister of State, Ministry of Human Resource Development of India.
The First Ladies from 10 countries namely, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Maldives, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan have been invited to participate in the conference. As Goodwill Ambassadors, the First Ladies would play a vital role to promote literacy in the entire region.
UPA chairperson, Ms Sonia Gandhi will be the Chief Guest of the inaugural session of the two day conference, whereas Ms Mahashweta Devi, Jnanapeeth award winner and recipient of Saraswathi Samman, will be the keynote speaker.
The Conference is of utmost importance for UNESCO and its member States and partners in their effort to achieve the goals of Education for All (EFA) and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and to fulfill their commitments to the United Nations Literacy Decade (UNLD) and the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD).
The Delhi Conference is important for the Indian sub-continent because 3 highly populated countries among E-9 countries namely, Bangladesh, India and Pakistan continue to face major literacy challenges, including the sheer number of illiterates.
In addition to a serious gender gap, there is a high urban-rural disparity. As a key instrument for lifelong learning, indispensable for effective participation in social and economic life and essential for peace, literacy is a crucial issue in the region.
The countries of South and South West Asia have the highest number of illiterates in the world, and out of the 388 million adults in this region who cannot read and write 63.5 per cent are women.
The Conference will organize Five Roundtable presentations on main challenges, trends, gaps, achievements and innovations in the region and make recommendations on how to promote literacy.
The five main issues to be addressed in the conference are:
"Literacy and Gender", "Literacy Policies and Strategies, Costs & Financing", "Programme Content and Delivery", "Monitoring & Evaluation of Literacy" and "Coalition and Partnership-Building for Literacy and Non Formal Education (NFE)".