With the theme “Changing learning structures to eradicate illiteracy”, the Sultanate of Oman joined other countries in the world to celebrate World Literacy Day on Thursday.
The Unesco-led International Literacy Day is celebrated every year on September 8 to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies.
In Oman, the Ministry of Education represented by the General Directorate of Special Education and Continuous Learning celebrated the day through a video conference under the auspices of Amna bint Salim al Balushi, Secretary of the Omani National Committee for Education and Culture.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Thuraya bint Hamad al Rashidi, Director-General of Special Education and Continuous Learning, affirmed that no country has progressed without education being one of its causes.
“It has been and remains one of the basic paths in the advancement of any society," she said.
In this regard, the Director-General said that the Ministry of Education has been keen during the past decades to harness all capabilities for their education, raising them, and enabling them to participate in various fields.
“One of the most important goals on which Oman’s Vision 2040 is based is its interest in inclusive and sustainable education. To achieve a qualitative leap in any system requires that it be accompanied by a daily effort to achieve reforms to support and enhance the desired outcomes, and the educational system, as it is known, is a comprehensive system," Dr Thuraya said.
In order to control the quality of the educational system, the ministry works to review and update the regulations for work in the field of lifelong learning in the educational directorates. In addition, in the next two years, the ministry will implement the Iqra project to grant Iqra certificates to those who have knowledge of reading and writing but do not hold scientific qualifications.
Figures from the National Centre for Statistics and Information indicate that there has been a significant fall in the illiteracy rate in the total population of the Sultanate of Oman, and an increase in the percentage of those who are able to read and write.
The programme included a welcome poem presented by educational researcher Amal al Shaqiyya, and a visual presentation on the ministry's efforts in the field of lifelong learning and successful experiences in eradicating illiteracy.
According to figures on the ministry’s Twitter handle, the literacy rate in the age group over 10 years was 97.26 per cent, compared to an illiteracy rate of 2.74 per cent, while the literacy rate in the age group 15 years and over was 97 per cent, compared to 3 per cent of the illiteracy rate.
The literacy rate in the age group from 15 to 45 years is 99.59 per cent, and the illiteracy rate is 0.46 per cent.
Globally, according to Unesco figures, literacy challenges persist with 771 million illiterate people around the world - out of which most women lack basic reading and writing skills.
“In the aftermath of the pandemic, nearly 24 million learners might never return to formal education, out of which, 11 million are projected to be girls and young women,” it said.
Unesco declared this year's theme for International Literacy Day as ‘Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces’. It added that this will be an “opportunity to rethink the fundamental importance of literacy learning spaces to build resilience and ensure quality, equitable, and inclusive education for all.”