UNESCO supports Afghanistan National Literacy Conference 2015

The Ministry of Education held The National Literacy Conference on 19 of April, to emphasize the importance of literacy for individual empowerment and national development, and reaffirm the commitment of all literacy stakeholders and partners to the achievement of its target of 60% adult literacy by 2020.

The National Literacy Conference was held at the Serena Hotel, Kabul on 19 of April 2015. The opening ceremony was attended by First Lady Mrs. Rula Ghani, H.E. Second Vice President, Head of the Literacy Commission, H.E. Mr. Sarwar Danish, Acting Minister of Education, H.E. Dr. Mohammad Shafiq Samim, H.E. Mr. Mohammad Azim Karbalai, Deputy Ministry of Education for Literacy, H.E. Mr. Takahashi, Ambassador of Japan to Afghanistan, H.E. Mr. Ari Mäki, Ambassador of Finland to Afghanistan, as well as by Mr. Paolo Fontani, Director and Representative of UNESCO, key line ministers, central and provincial education directors and literacy managers, and literacy service providers across the country.   

The representatives of the Government of Afghanistan voiced their appreciation to the donors and partners for their strong support for literacy programmes in Afghanistan and renewed their plea for continued cooperation in the provision of quality literacy learning opportunities for the people of Afghanistan.

H.E. Dr. Samim thanked all senior government delegations for their participation and donors who have contributed to the literacy sector. In addition he mentioned that the Ministry of Education is highly committed for supporting all educational needs, especially literacy and wishes to thank the new national literacy commission and donors for their commitment to literacy promotion and support in Afghanistan.

The First Lady Mrs. Ghani encouraged continuation of commitments and strong support in empowering women and girls through education and literacy programmes across the country. She also mentioned that women’s education and equality in participation needs to be considered in our education and literacy programmes. 

H.E. Mr. Danish stressed that literacy is one of the key elements needed to promote sustainable development, as it empowers people to improve their lives and contribute to society’s economic growth, social development, and environmental integration. He also highlighted that literacy should become compulsory in Afghanistan.

H.E. Mr. Takahashi expressed admiration for Mrs. Bibi Gul Ghani, for her strong commitment to education and in particular women’s literacy. In addition, he expressed deepest gratitude to project partners, the Government of Afghanistan, including Ministry of Education, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled, and Ministry of Women’s Affairs, all under collaboration with UNESCO. Mr. Paolo Fontani, UNESCO Director and Representative, appreciated the tremendous efforts of the Ministry of Education in improving the education sector in the country in the past 12 years. He mentioned the critical need for literacy in Afghanistan, the importance that government and donors sustain and increase their commitment, and how the programmes for Enhancement of Literacy in Afghanistan (ELA) and Literacy for Empowering Afghan Police (LEAP) have been instrumental to address these needs since 2008. Also, he mentioned that quality, sustainability and capacity continue to be the main challenges in providing literacy.

The ceremony was followed by a group discussion around current literacy challenges and programmes among the literacy service providers, practitioners and the Ministry of Education.