NEWS

Illiteracy greater in older people

On the occasion of the international day against illiteracy tomorrow, the National Statistics Service has released figures on the matter in Greece, showing that 77,200 people aged 19 to 24 had not completed the compulsory nine years of schooling. Furthermore, the problem is greater in older sections of the population. In the 25-29 age group, 101,100 people do not have a high school graduation certificate (which is compulsory), while this applies to 672,900 of those aged between 30 and 44 and, among those aged 45-64, it amounts to 1,684,200 people. In 2000, 32,408 people took part in state-subsidized literacy programs, the majority of whom were Greeks from the former Soviet Union, foreigners and Gypsies. Education Minister Petros Efthymiou said yesterday a pilot Second Chance School that opened last year in Peristeri, western Athens, had trained 47 people aged 21-59. This year, such schools will open in Salonica, Patras, Iraklion, Menidi and Komotini. The protest stressed the interest of Greece and the European Union in general for the immediate intervention of the authorities and the opening of the roads. It noted also the responsibility undertaken in this regard by Skopje in the stability agreement that it has signed with the European Union. Sources say that after the intervention of the authorities the road to Kosovo was reopened.