Cambodia celebrates Literacy Day

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The Sharing Foundation’s Khmer literacy school helps the children of the poor, illiterate, subsistence farmers (Photo: The Sharing Foundation).

By Cecelia Marshall for The Khmer Times

PHNOM PENH, September 8 (Khmer Times) – Currently 250 million children in the world can’t read or write.  Though many children go to school in Cambodia, this does not necessarily reflect their ability to learn.  And the more children lack in literacy, the more a country’s economic and social development may suffer.

As in the past, Cambodia’s Ministry of Education Youth and Sports (MoEYS) is partnering with UNESCO to hold literacy-promoting activities to celebrate the significant role literacy plays in the country’s development.

This year’s international theme is “Literacy for Peace”, and Cambodia has again chosen to celebrate this day and show the importance that literacy plays in propelling human and national development.  The theme for Cambodia is: “Literacy as a Foundation for Development.”

Efforts to eradicate illiteracy were brought to worldwide attention over 50 years ago. On September 8, 1965 the World Congress of Ministers of Education met to discuss this international issue. From then on, September 8 is known as International Literacy Day.

“Literacy is a key player of change and a practical tool of empowerment on each of the three main pillars of sustainable development: economic development, social development and environmental protection,” said former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

The literacy rate in Cambodia was 74 percent in 2013 according to United Nations Development Program’s (UNDP) Human Development Index.  Although this is inadequate, Cambodian’s education sector has progressed in the recent years.

Primary school completion rate increased from 59 percent in 2002 to 98 percent in 2012, and half of them are girls.

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