Thu, May 04, 2006 - Page 2 News List

MOI concerned about illiteracy rate differentials

By Jean Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Illiteracy is still a problem in this country and the percentage of illiterate people is higher than in most developed nations, according to a recent report by the Ministry of the Interior (MOI).

Last year, the literacy rate of people over the age of 15 reached 97.3 percent, meaning that 2.7 people out of every 100 are still illiterate, the ministry's figures show.

There has, however, been a 3 percentage point drop in illiteracy in the past 10 years.

There were approximately 18,511,000 people over the age of 15 as of last year; of this figure, 18,017,000 were literate, a 0.17 percent increase from the year before.

WOMEN LAG BEHIND

The percentage of literate women older than 15 was 4 percent lower than men of the same age mainly because the number of illiterate women over the age of 65 was 25 percent less than their male counterparts.

For those older than 15, 99.29 percent of the 9,341,000 men were literate and 95.34 percent of the 9,170,000 women were literate.

The lower the age, the less notable the differences in literacy level between men and women, the report said.

According to UNESCO figures, 18.3 percent of the world's population over the age of 15 last year was illiterate -- 3.3 percent of the men and 23.3 percent of the women.

For developed countries, the percentage of illiteracy was 1.1 percent: 0.8 percent for men and 1.5 percent for women. Developing countries had illiteracy levels of 23.4 percent, 16.8 percent for men and 30.2 percent for women.

TAIWAN'S STANDING

Taiwan's rankings were higher than developed nations but far lower than developing countries. The illiteracy level of people under the age of 44 was the same as that of a developed nation, the report said.

Taiwan still lags behind the US, Germany, Japan and the UK, the report said, but is ahead of Hong Kong, Singapore and China.

College-level education has increased 11.15 percent in the past five years, the report said, with women's rates increasing at a faster pace than men's.

Of people over the age of 15, 33.5 percent had schooling to high school level, 31.6 percent had reached college level or above and 16.6 percent had only an elementary school education.

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