What you need to know:
- Out of the 862 million illiterate adults in the world, 7.8 million are Kenyans.
The number of children out of school has increased by three million globally, even as the International Literacy Day was marked on Tuesday.
According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), 75 million children worldwide are out of school.
In Kenya, the number stands at 1.8 million children, despite the launch of the Free Primary Education (FPE) in 2003.
Out of these children, 57 per cent are girls, with boys still enjoying a privileged position in terms of access to education and life opportunities.
And out of the 862 million illiterate adults in the world, 7.8 million are Kenyans.
Kenya marked the day under the UN theme of Literacy and Health in the celebrations to link the high illiteracy rates to the food crisis.
“The rates can be linked to the prevailing conditions in our country. Lack of adequate food, among others,” said Education minister Sam Ongeri in his message.
Kenya’s literacy rates stands at 68 per cent with the government hoping to achieve 80 per cent by 2010.
Even though the implementation of FPE brought on board many boys and girls formerly locked out of education, the government’s inconsistency in disbursing these funds has affected enrollment.
“Despite the power of literacy to transform individual lives and patterns of social development, there is neither the political will nor the resources to make youth and adult literacy a priority,” said Unesco director general Koichiro Matsuura.
“For all those men and women who live without access to basic reading and writing, literacy opens up new opportunities, improves their standards of living, and reduces poverty.”