TEHRAN, May 6 (Mehr News Agency) -- Iran is ranked 87th in literacy rate among 139 countries in the world, state Literacy Movement Organization announced in Tehran on Monday.
Over eight million illiterates have been educated since the formation of the Literacy Movement Organization in 1979.
The movement during this period has taken major steps toward eradication of illiteracy.
The number of illiterates among Iranians over 40 years of age dropped to 9 million by the end of 2006, from 14 million in 1976.
Literacy classes in Turkmen Sahra, Iran
A total of 606,000 Afghan and 32,000 Iraqi immigrants became literate through attending the organization's training classes.
About 87.5 percent of newly literate are under 40.
According to the figures of the UNFPA, the program launched by the organization in 1979 seeks to bring the total adult literacy rate over 89.1% by 2010 and to 92.1% by 2015.
The illiteracy rate is much higher for women and in rural areas. The percentage difference between female and male literacy rate has changed over the past years and dropped to 8.3% in 2006 from 23.4% in 1976.
At the same time, the percentage difference of literacy rate between the urban and rural areas has fallen from 34% to 13%.
The Literacy Movement Organization has improved women's success greatly, especially those in rural and underdeveloped areas throughout the country.
Designed especially for those who never learned to read and write, the program is credited with much of the country's success in reducing illiteracy from 52.5 percent in 1976 to about 6 percent, at the last census in 2006.
Prior to the Islamic Revolution illiteracy those between 10 to 45 years stood at 23.4 percent; today this figure has decreased to 6.6 percent.
The movement has established over 2,000 learning centers across the country, employed number of 55,000 instructors, distributed easy-to-read books and manuals, and provided literacy classes to illiterates, men and women.
The initiative pays particular attention to the needs of women who head households. In addition to teaching basic academic skills and vocational training, the program offers classes in 'skills for life', such as childcare, communication, and self-esteem.
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