Literacy Rate Illiterate Population
85.2 % 142.0 million
source :  2000 figures estimated by UNESCO Institute for Statistics, July 2002

National Literacy Goals
YEAR 2005 2010 2015
Total adult literacy rate (%) 94 97 99
Female adult literacy rate (%) 91 95 97
Male adult literacy rate (%) 97 99 99

Definition of a Literate Person

One who can recognize more than 1500 Chinese characters (for a farmer) and 2000 characters (for an office worker or urban resident).

Name of National Literacy Agency

Department of Basic Education, Department of Vocational and Adult Education, Ministry of Education;
National Commission for UNESCO of the People's Republic of China.

"Literacy Facts and Figures" of China
Structure of National Literacy Agency

National level: Department of Basic Education, Department of Vocational and Adult Education, Ministry of Education.

Provincial level: Division of Basic Education, Division of Vocational and Adult Education of the Provinces.

County level: Section of Basic Education, Section of Vocational and Adult Education of Bureau of Education;

Township level: Education group, Primary school, School for Peasants.

Number of NGOs working in the field of literacy Women's federations,
Youth organizations,
Association for Science and Technology.
Number of literacy classes in most recent year ...
Number of classroom hours designated to achieve basic literacy ...

National Policies and Strategies
National Policies on Literacy / Non-formal Education in Latest Policy Document on Education

Decision of the State Council on the Reform and Development of Basic Education Promulgated on 10 July 2001.

Current Literacy / Non-formal Education Objectives /Strategies
a. to strengthen the leadership and guidance provided by governments at all levels to literacy and post-literacy education. The Chinese government promulgated the "Decision of the State Council on the Reform and Development of Basic Education". It is provided by local governments at all levels and it should persist in making the "two basics" their "top priorities" in educational development. In order to further expand 9-year compulsory schooling, and to keep the literacy rates among young and middle-aged adults above 95%, a basic education programmes with literacy classes as its integral part should be incorporated into the plan for economic and social development. Specific steps should be taken to increase the level of financing so as to create good conditions for the development of basic education.
b. to improve the mechanism of government leadership, which relates to literacy and post-literacy education characterized by a proper division of labour and cooperation among various governmental departments.
c. to focus on literacy work among priority areas and groups. Efforts should be redoubled amongst in the literacy work conducted in poor areas, especially minority people and women.
d. to strengthen in domains related to teaching and learning in literacy work. Literacy education should strive to combine general education with the learning of productive techniques and life skills.
e. to strengthen the scientific management of literacy work, including periodic reports on the progress of work and inspection.
f. The policy of "Preventing first, eradicating second, and upgrading third" should be adhered to. An integrated approach to the planning and coordinated development of basic, vocational, and adult education in the countryside should be adopted,
*by pooling the resources of the sectors of education, science and technology, and agriculture and improving the effective utilization of available resources, and
*by making necessary adjustments in the geographical distribution of educational institutions and programs. Attention should be paid to neo-literates in disseminating scientific and technical knowledge.
g. to strengthen research and training related to rural adult education.
h. International cooperation should be developed more.
Lessons Learned from Past Literacy Programmes and Activities

[Updated in April 2003]

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