0543 GMT January 26, 2020
“Tehran, Mazandaran, Semnan, Alborz and Isfahan provinces have the highest literacy rate while Sistan-Baluchetsan, West Azarbaijan, Kurdestan, Kerman and Lorestan have the lowest rate,” he said.
Baqerzadeh, who is also the head of Iran’s Literacy Movement Organization (ILMO), noted that 780 million people in the world are unable to read and write at all.
“Iran’s share of the world’s illiterate population is 3,456,000,” he said.
“A total of 443,000 people — of whom 200,000 were completely illiterate — attended schools in the year ended March 2015.”
According to the Statistical Center of Iran, the country has a total population of 77.33 million.
“Illiterate people are not allowed to receive a driving license and the licenses of uneducated people will not be renewed. Also, work permit will not be issued to such people,” he said.
Baqerzadeh said unlettered people cannot receive any aid from Imam Khomeini Relief Committee and State Welfare Organization.
The ILMO chief said 500 new literacy centers will be established across the nation in the current year (ending March 2016), which numbers will be increased to 1,500 over the next three years.
Baqerzadeh noted that such classes will continue to be held until illiteracy is uprooted.
“Twenty percent of the money paid by learners will be refunded when they pass the final exams,” he said.
The deputy minister also said families striving to educate their illiterate members will be paid an annual allowance.
Baqerzadeh said the rate of illiteracy has declined among Afghan refugees as well.
“The literacy rate among Afghans was 6 percent, which has increased to 60 percent,” he said.
The deputy minister noted that non-governmental organizations, who identify and educate orphans and children suffering from bad parenting, will receive between 25 and 100 percent of the education costs.
Baqerzadeh called for uprooting female illiteracy, as women are primary trainers of children.
“Women account for two-thirds of illiterate persons,” he said.
Dr. Ebrahim Ghaffari, the deputy head of Tehran’s State Welfare Department, said an agreement has been signed by NGOs, private charity organizations, social relief clinics and the department to identify dropouts.
“Education is every child’s fundamental right, but some children never find an opportunity to attend classes or drop out of school mainly because of poverty,” he said.
The agreement aims to identify and support such children to improve their livelihood and prevent them from being trapped in the poverty cycle.