VIENTIANE, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- Laos is working towards its target to wipe out illiteracy by planning for everyone aged 15-35 to complete the equivalent of lower secondary schooling by 2020, with a focus on development and higher enrolment in primary and lower secondary schools, local daily Vientiane Times reported Saturday.
Lao Minister of Education and Sports Sengdeuane Lachanthaboun spoke about the government's determination to eradicate illiteracy at an event held on Thursday to mark International Literacy Day, which falls on Sept. 8.
Laos' new focus is raising standards at primary and secondary schools to meet the ambitious 2020 target, especially by improving education in rural areas.
This is a major step on the way to achieving the vision for 2030, which would see every Lao citizen completing the equivalent of upper secondary school.
According to a report from the ministry, 15,763 people completed primary school education in last academic year, including 8,528 females.
Some 17,613 people completed lower secondary school, including 7,217 women and girls, while 1,747 completed upper secondary school, including 516 females.
Some 5,504 people were declared literate, including 3,003 females aged over 15.
On Friday, the National Library of Laos and other bodies under the Ministry of Education and Sports held activities to celebrate the 53rd International Literacy Day. The theme of this year's event is "Literacy and Skill Development."
Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, delivered a message on the occasion of International Literacy Day.
"Literacy is the first step towards freedom, towards liberation from social and economic constraints. It is the prerequisite for development, both individual and collective. It reduces poverty and inequality, creates wealth, and helps to eradicate problems of nutrition and public health," Azoulay wrote.