At the Celebration of International Literacy Day: "Illiteracy" is the Main Cause of Afghanistan's Lag from Progress and Development

The Chief Executive of the National Unity Government, today at the celebration of the International Literacy Day held at the Sepidar Palace, stressed on mobilization of the public on reducing and eliminating illiteracy in Afghanistan.

At the ceremony, first, Dr. Mirwais Balkhi, Acting Minister of Education, said lack of education was one of the main factors of lack of development and the biggest obstacle to social change in the country.

Dr. Balkhi stated that access to education and gaining awareness is a major prerequisite for progress and achieving the country's grand goals, emphasizing that the Ministry of Education and the National Unity Government, by launching the "Literacy Movement", seek to reduce and eliminate illiteracy from the society.

Stating that 3.7 million children are currently deprived of schooling and education, the Acting Minister of Education said, “We are trying to provide the ground for them to go to schools.”

Then, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, the Chief Executive of the National Unity Government said that commemorating the Day of Literacy is more important in Afghanistan than any other countries. Afghanistan has remained undeveloped for many obvious reasons and one of the main reasons is illiteracy.

Speaking about the importance of education in the religion of Islam, the Chief Executive said that beginning of the revelation with the word "Read" indicates the importance of science and knowledge in Islam. The Holy Quran has given the greatest message to the mankind. The Prophet (P.B.U.H) said: "Every captive, who makes two and three people literate, is freed from jail." This saying clearly shows the importance of literacy. But today, some groups under the name of the religion are preventing citizens from learning and gaining knowledge.

Dr. Abdullah thanked the officials in the Ministry of Education, adding that the National Unity Government in the "literacy" section has had a good accomplishment, but it is still a long way to reaching our goals.

The Chief Executive thanked the countries of Japan, Sweden, Finland, South Korea and UNESCO for contributing to literacy section, saying that investment in literacy section was regarded as the humanity's greatest value.

Dr. Abdullah called for a public mobilization to reduce and eliminate illiteracy. He also asked international institutions, civil society, Ulema, private sector as well as citizens to take part in this great task.

The Chief Executive, arguing that learning is the basic human rights and that no individual or group has the right to prevent people from gaining access to education, said, “Those who impose a burden of ignorance and illiteracy on the people, commit the greatest human crimes, and are accountable to God and to the people.”

Dr. Abdullah said that achieving sustainable development goals is impossible without access to literacy, adding that literacy has a meaning beyond reading and writing; literacy means knowing oneself as well as knowing others.

The Chief Executive called for optimal use of foreign aids to eliminate illiteracy and said we hope we will achieve conditions that will no longer require foreign aids.

Ambassadors of Japan and Sweden in Kabul, representative of UNESCO in Afghanistan and Mawlawi Mohammad Ayaz Niyazi, an Islamic scholar also spoke at the program.

The ambassadors of the mentioned countries pledged to continue their cooperation and assistance for reduction and elimination of illiteracy.

The Ministry of Education appreciated the ambassadors of partner countries and governmental and nongovernmental figures who have played a role in reducing illiteracy, by giving them a “Letter of Appreciation”.