KOTA KINABALU: The literacy rate in Sabah and Sarawak is significantly lower at 79 per cent and 72 per cent respectively compared to nationwide.
Institute for Development Studies (Sabah) executive director Datuk Mohd Hasnol Bin Ayub said this is a serious concern and need to be tackle with an effective action.
He pointed out that an effective way to contribute towards building civilization and human development as a whole is by improving the literacy rate. The literacy rate among Malaysian citizens aged 10 to 64 years showed a very encouraging increment, reached 97.3 per cent in 2010 compared to 93.5 per cent in 2000.
Meanwhile, in terms of gender perspective, the estimation literacy rate for men is 96.18 per cent while for women is 93.21 per cent.
“The government is very sincere in eradicating illiteracy among Malaysians,” said Hasnol, adding various efforts have been taken by the government through the formal or informal education in improving literacy rate for the community. Improving literacy rate is a very effective way to contribute towards building civilisation and human development as a whole.
Hasnol also said that since 1970, Malaysia has invested in providing a proper infrastructures to ensure access to schools and supporting the needs of the poor.
“It is estimated that 125,000 Malaysia children are still out of school and do not have access of primary education in the year of 2007,” he said, adding that the Education Ministry is planning a strategic action plan in reducing the dropout rate so that there will be no more primary school dropouts by 2020.
The Institute for Development Studies (Sabah), in partnership with Konrad-Adenaur Stiftung (KAS), and in collaboration with University College Sabah Foundation (UCSF) and Sabah Women Advisory Council (MPWS) is organising a seminar entitled Seminar on Gender and Literacy Development: Reaching the Dropouts in The Pacific Sutera Hotel here.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman has been invited to officiate the one-day seminar on May 18.
Seven working papers will be presented by speakers from both institutions and NGOs regarding gender and literacy. The papers include Schools Dropouts in Malaysia: Impact and Implications, by Assoc Prof Dr Samsilah Bte Roslan, Director of Putra Science Park, UPM; Profesionalisme Guru dan Pencapaian Murid Luar Bandar, by Dr Mohd Khairuddin @ Jerry Bin Abdullah, Senior Lecturer of Faculty of Psychology and Education, UMS; Literacy and Empowerment, by Dr Mohd Suhaimi Mohamad, Senior Lecturer of Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, UKM; Literacy and Human Resources: An Integrated Approach, by Assoc Prof Dr Marinah Awang, Head of Department of Education Management, Faculty of Management and Economics, UPSI; Early Literacy Development: The Case of Sabah, by Wan Shawaluddin Wan Hassan, Senior Lecturer of Faculty of Humanities, Arts and Heritage, UMS; Pembangunan Pendidikan di Pedalaman Sabah, by Assoc Prof Dr Khalid Bin Johari, Senior Lecturer of Faculty of Psychology and Education, UMS and Gender and Literacy: TRY Project by Raviraj Gangaram Sawlani from Project TRY, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
About 180 participants from both public and private sectors are expected to participate in this seminar.