As the world celebrates the International Literacy Day on September 8, the Ministry of Education has announced that 34,829 people recently graduated from adult classes.
The adult literacy program that started last year, targets an estimated 178,591 people.
The ministry employed the services of Senior Six leavers to teach adults in their respective communities. Over 8,600 youth were trained and equipped with the necessary teaching aids.
According to the head of the literacy program in the ministry, Emile Uwamahoro, the program was set up with the intention of training many people in the shortest time possible.
“We have started reaping from the program going by the number that has already graduated,” said Uwamahoro.
He added that besides learning how to read, write and arithmetics, they were also taught health, agriculture, family planning and upholding peace in their communities.
However, despite the strides taken towards the reduction of illiteracy, challenges still abound. They include inexperienced tutors, lack of interest by the people to enrol for the classes, low reading culture and insufficient scholastic materials, among others.
Rwanda has set a target of 85 percent literacy rate among its population by 2015 and 100 percent by 2020.
Statistics from UNESCO show that 793 million people in the world cannot read and write with two thirds of this figure made up of women and girls.
It also shows that 67 million children of school going age are not in school while 72 million children supposed to be attending lower secondary school have also missed the chance.
In her literacy day message, the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, said that the above situation is holding back all efforts to reduce poverty and advance human development.
Bokova states that no country can hope to establish lasting conditions for peace unless it finds ways of building mutual trust between its citizens.
“This can be done through inclusive education systems that promote mutual understanding, respect, tolerance and dialogue,” he says.
She urges that the world urgently needs increased political commitment to literacy backed by adequate resources to scale up effective programs.
This year’s theme is ‘literacy and peace, with special consideration to gender equality.’