"In South Asia, the literacy rate for young women and young men grew by 26 and 17 percentage points, respectively, from 1990 to 2011. Thus, at this rate, gender parity in literacy is a distinct possibility in the future," he said while inaugurating the International Conference of Ministers of Education of South Asian Countries on Literacy, Peace and Development in New Delhi.

He stressed that literacy, peace and development are inextricably interlinked. In the absence of literacy, people get excluded from the benefits of development while they endure its costs such as unemployment, lower wages and social insecurity. This consequently impacts on development, he said.

Ansari emphasized that literacy is a necessary condition for peace to prevail and to tackle the very roots of conflicts arising due to ignorance, intolerance, economic hardship, social injustice and political oppression.


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