Arab League warns of 30 percent illiteracy rate in Arab world

The Arab League's educational arm urged its member countries Tuesday to get serious about fighting illiteracy, citing a report that showed nearly one in three people in the Arab world cannot read. The Tunis-based Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization said numerous efforts to reduce the illiteracy rate across the 21-country region still had not done enough. The group cited a UN Development Program report showing nearly 100 million people of the 335 million in the Arab world were illiterate. Three-fourths of them were aged 15 to 45, and nearly half were women. It shows a "deep structural gap that curbs the evolution of Arab society and has very grave political, social and economic consequences," ALECSO said in a statement, timed for a literacy day in Arab countries.