Campaign Aims to Boost Adult Literacy

Unesco and the Ministry of Education on Monday launched a two-month joint campaign to raise the adult literacy rate to 84.4 percent by the end of the year by airing television and radio spots to encourage enrollment in after-school literacy classes.

In a speech at the National Institute of Education in Phnom Penh at the campaign’s launch ceremony, Prime Minister Hun Sen urged the U.N. and the government to pull out all the stops to find the funding for the initiative.

“Please, look for the money to produce a tremendous number of spots for broadcast through radio, television and other places,” Mr. Hun Sen said, stressing that participation by media companies was not voluntary.

“All media networks must take part,” he said, “Don’t forget to play these spots.”

The prime minister also entreated members of the audience to do their part.

“Especially, please, all of you, help tell the illiterate people to go study, including your illiterate mothers and fathers,” he said.

According to the Ministry of Planning, the literacy rate among Cambodians aged 15 and older was 79.4 percent as of 2013.

Unesco country director Anne Lemaistre said in a speech at Monday’s event that the campaign aimed to boost this figure to 84.4 percent by the end of the year by enrolling 92,125 people in 3,685 literacy classes.

Contacted later by telephone, Ms. Lemaistre said the classes would, as in past years, be offered at public primary schools around the country, and that there would be about 2,500 more classes than in 2014—an increase essential to preparing the population for Asean economic integration at the end of the year.

She said the television and radio spots would serve to encourage enrollment in the additional literacy classes, and would be aired starting next week.

“We need to promote this literacy campaign over the next two months to get them to enroll in the literacy classes,” Ms. Lemaistre said.

“We have already a TV spot,” she said “For the radio spot, we are creating that now.”

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