Bahrain demonstrates the highest adult literacy rate among all the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, a UN official said Tuesday.
“This has been possible due to the strong initiatives taken by the government to ensure good quality education for all its citizens,” said UN Development Program (UNDP) resident representative Faysal Abdel-Gadir.
“Bahrain’s adult literacy rate reached 86.5 percent last year, followed by Kuwait (80.9 percent) and Qatar (80.4 percent), he said, quoted by the Gulf Daily News.
Oman still has a low adult literacy rate and the lowest education index value.
Abdel-Gadir was speaking at the launch of the Human Development Report 2001 at the UN House in Manama.
According to the indices, said Abdel-Gadir, all six GCC states remained fairly stable with negligible fluctuations.
Bahrain, Kuwait and the UAE had the highest life expectancy and education indices, while Qatar and Kuwait had the highest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) indices for the past three years, he added.
The only major drop is seen with Saudi Arabia and Oman, Abdel-Gadir said.
Saudi Arabia and Oman had high GDP indices from 1996 to 1998, but then dropped rapidly from 1998 to 1999.
On the whole, the GCC countries remain the most developed among the 23 countries of the Arab League, the UN official said.
The report also measured inequalities between men and women and noted that in 27 countries, the percentage of girls attending secondary schools declined between 1985 and 1997.
Abdel-Gadir said Bahrain is one of the countries in the Arab world which showed this decline, along with Kuwait, Qatar, Iraq and Syria.
This issue has to be studied in detail by educational planners and researchers, he said.
“They have to analyze whether this drop is due to girls failing to complete their education for various reasons.
One of the causes of decline in the secondary enrolment ratio could be that girls get married early."
This is the 12th year that the UNDP is commissioning the Human Development Report, said Abdel-Gadir.
The hallmark of the report is the Human Development Index, said the paper, adding that it will serve as an important reference for policy makers – Albawaba.com