Education Conference Wants Illiteracy Gone by 2015

GENEVA, SEPT. 7, 2001 ( The 66th International Conference on Education, organized by UNESCO, has a high goal: to wipe out literacy in the world by 2015.

Now, 875 million people worldwide are illiterate. About 580 million of these, or two-thirds, are women. In Asia, 3 out of every 5 women are illiterate, In Africa, since 1990 the percentage of literacy of women has increased to 54% from 41% and, in the Arab countries, to 50% from 37%.

The Vatican is participating in the four-day conference that ends Saturday.

Conferees from 180 countries, including 80 Education Ministers, are studying the 100 best educational experiences of the world, especially those that can be applied in different contexts. Some of them are promoted by Catholic institutions.

According to data reported today by the Vatican agency Fides, the Church has 63,125 kindergartens (with 5,367,009 pupils), 89,537 primary schools (with 26,130,792 pupils), and 35,722 secondary and high schools (with 14,200,046 pupils). It assists more than 3 million university students worldwide