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PCBS: Illiteracy rates decreased by 84% throughout the last two decades

PCBS: Illiteracy rates decreased by 84% throughout the last two decades

RAMALLAH, Thursday, September 8, 2022 (WAFA) – The illiteracy rates decreased by 84% throughout the last two decades, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS).

PCBS said in a press release on the occasion of International Literacy Day that the illiteracy rate in Palestine is one of the lowest rates in the world, reaching 2.3% among Palestinian population (15 years and above) during 2021.

It explained that the illiteracy rate among Palestinians aged 15 years and above in Israel reached 3.6% in 2017, according to the data of the Galilee Society (Rikaz). According to UNESCO's Institute for Statistics, the illiteracy rate among persons (aged 15 years and above) in Western Asia and Northern Africa was 19.5% in 2020; 14.2% among males compared to 25.1% among females. In the same year, the rate was 13.3% in the world among the same age group; 9.9% among males compared to 16.7% among females.

The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) defines an illiterate person as the person who is unable to read and write with understanding a simple statement related to one’s daily life.

Moreover, PCBS said that the illiteracy rates decreased by 84% throughout the last two decades.

It explained that illiteracy rates among the Palestinian population (aged 15 years and above) in Palestine dropped during the period 1997-2021 from 13.9% to 2.3%, corresponding to a decline from 7.8% in 1997 to 1.2% in 2021 among males and from 20.3% to 3.5% among females during the same period.

It added that the illiteracy rate decreased from 14.1% in 1997 to 2.5% in 2021 in the West Bank, while it decreased from 13.7% in 1997 to 2.0% in 2021in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Furthermore, PCBS pointed that more than half of illiterate persons are elderly.

It elaborated that the illiteracy rate varies considerably between age groups. The age group (65 years and above) recorded the highest rate, while the lowest rate was among the age group (30-44 years). In 2021, the illiteracy rate among older persons 65 years and above reached about 24.8% (43.5 thousand illiterate persons). The rate was about 2.4% (15.5 thousand illiterate persons) among the age group 45-64 year, 0.8% (7.0 thousand illiterate persons) among the age group 30-44 year and 0.6% (9.4 thousand illiterate persons) among youth 15-29 years for the same year.

PCBS added that about 52 thousand illiterate persons live in urban areas.

In 2021, the illiteracy rate reached 3.3% in rural localities (16.2 thousand illiterate persons), 2.5% in refugee camps (6.8 thousand illiterate persons) and 2.1% (52.4 thousand illiterate persons) in urban areas.

It noted that there are 26 literacy centers in Palestine.

Data from the Ministry of Education showed that the number of literacy centers in Palestine for the scholastic year 2020/2021 was 26 centers; 5 centers in the West Bank and 21 centers in the Gaza Strip. The total number of students enrolled in such centers was 663, including418 males and 245 females.


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