Over 1.6 million Colombians – 6.6% of the population – are illiterate, according to the minister for education.
Maria Fernanda Campo told El Espectator that poverty was the leading cause of illiteracy. According to Campo nearly every family in the poorest parts of Colombia has one or two adults who cannot read or write.
In the United Network Against Poverty, which represents 1,200,000 of the most vulnerable families in the country, at least 80% of the people are illiterate.
The Ministry for Education claims that since 2010, literacy programs have reached 213,000 adults. However drop out levels are high.
Campo said, “You have to motivate these adults so they take the decision and they stay, they have lived a long time without reading or writing.”
The ministry is planning to launch a new digital literacy program next year, which will involve sending classes out to cell phones.
The government aims to help 600,000 people learn to read and write by 2014.