China vows to convert 10 mln illiterate people in five years

09:04, May 26, 2011      

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China plans to reduce the number of illiterate people by 2 million each year over the next five years, according to an outline issued Wednesday by the Ministry of Education.

As the most populous country in the world, China has promised the international community that it would reduce the number of illiterate adults to around 43 million by 2015.

"There are still 50 million illiterate people in China, most of whom live in remote and rural areas with poor transportation and telecommunications," an official with the ministry said .

The illiteracy ratio on the Chinese mainland declined to 4.08 percent in 2010 from 6.72 percent in 2000, according to the data from China's sixth national census released earlier this year.

To better help these people learn how to read and write, the ministry has issued a set of guidelines on creating reading courses and compiling teaching materials especially for illiteracy eradication.

In the guidelines, one course was designed to teach illiterate people how to correctly read, pronounce, write, and use 592 of the most frequently used Chinese characters.

The guidelines also include basic arithmetic skills and tips for daily life, with the help of which an illiterate person would be able to catch up with fast-changing society.

When the People's Republic of China was founded in 1949, the illiterate population accounted for 80 percent of its 600 million people.

Over the past decades, the Chinese government has continuously fought illiteracy by promoting nine-year compulsory education, particularly in rural areas, home to 90 percent of the country's illiterate people.

"In the next five years, we should take further actions to educate women, ethnic minorities and migrant workers," the official said.

Apart from offering lessons in public schools, the Chinese government plans to use video products for home study.

Source: Xinhua
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