DUBAI, Oct 28 – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak urged the Muslim nations to raise their literacy rate so that their people could thrive with the rest of the world. He was worried to learn that too few Muslims were able to read or write; according to the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO) and illiteracy rates in some Muslim countries reach 40 percent for men, and 65 percent for women.
“By prioritising education throughout life, we can realise the potential of our people – reducing poverty, raising living standards, and unlocking 21st century growth. We need new and innovative partnerships between educators, governments and private and third sectors to make good the gap. “The starting point is literacy, the foundation for success,” he said in his special address delivered during the opening session of the 10th World Islamic Economic Forum today.
Also present were Vice President, Prime Minister of United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Al-Maktoum, Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbayev and WIEF Foundation chairman Tun Musa Hitam. In this respect, Najib, who is also WIEF patron, called on the ummah to rally behind ISESCO’s call to ‘use all means available’ to ensure Muslims could read, write – and contribute to national economic and social development.
“We should follow the example of Arab states, whose adult literacy has risen by 20 per cent in the past 20 years; or South East Asian nations, where literacy rates are consistently above 90 per cent.”