0936 GMT August 17, 2017
The demographic window is a good opportunity for promoting the growth and development of Iran, said Minister of Labor, Cooperatives and Social Welfare Ali Rabiei.
Rabiei emphasized that inequalities should be removed in all fields, including educational, healthcare and income.
Speaking in the First Congress on Development and Educational Equality on Sunday, the minister said the government recognizes people's rights and is making efforts to eliminate poverty.
"Educational, health, food and income poverty are among the most important indices when measuring poverty," he said.
“According to the income distribution pyramid, seven million people are living in extreme poverty in Iran.”
Rabiei also said the government has been relatively successful in providing food security to needy people and about seven million people are now covered by the food security package, which will rise to 10 million in the near future.
The minister pointed to the Health Overhaul Plan implemented by the government and said six million people have received health insurance, most of whom are from the lower strata.
Rabiei said the nation is facing many inequalities, including gap in payment.
"Residents of Tehran earn seven times more than those living in Sistan-Baluchetsan province, but poverty is more visible in Tehran," he said, stressing that the expenditure of families with an educated householder is more than those of families with an uneducated householder.
"Educated people receive more employment opportunities compared to uneducated individuals," he said.
Rabiei noted that urban poverty has been on the rise since past 10 years, except for 2007 when the poverty decline was insignificant in cities.
"The poverty is linked to gender too, such that women breadwinners are twice more likely to live in poverty compared to men,” he said.
Educational poverty is more likely to happen among girls in rural areas and statistics show 35 percent of girls drop out of high school, which figure is much lower among boys.
The minister pointed to gender pay gap, which is common in private companies and said the government is pursuing the issue.
Noting that 170,000 children have not attended high school or elementary school, the minister said people's standard of living is linked to their level of education and the government is making efforts to take those children back to school.
"The government will introduce the package for supporting children school dropouts as of next week, which is aimed at eradicating illiteracy among people under the age of 30. In the next phase, the government will focus on the adults and elderly," he said.
Rabiei divided literacy into three groups, namely general literacy needed by everyone to survive in today's world, technical and occupational literacy needed to get a job and academic literacy.
"Our universities are not training technicians and experts, which is causing a rise in unemployment among graduates," he said.
“In case the demographic window is not taken into consideration, a good opportunity would turn into misery.”
Rabiei said workshops held on the basis of the agreement signed by Oil Ministry and the Technical and Vocational Organization in Asalouyeh, Bushehr province, have helped increase youth employment.