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Indigenous Illiteracy at Same Level as 40 Years Ago - Mexico Institute for Adult Education

Laura Poy Solano - La Jornada
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December 16, 2014

In the past four decades, nothing has changed in the attention paid to the indigenous population that doesn’t know how to read and write, and in terms of the percentages of who has managed to overcome illiteracy, "we’re right where we were 40 years ago", the National Institute for Adult Education acknowledges.

One of every four indigenous persons finds themselves this far behind in their level of education, while the portion of the Spanish-speaking population that finds themselves in this condition is one of every 20.  Added to this is the fact that seven of every 10 illiterate indigenous persons lives in Chiapas, Puebla, Oaxaca, Guerrero, Veracruz, and Yucatan [southern states].

In an analysis presented by the general director, Alfredo Llorente Martinez, to state authorities, it stands out that of the 5.4 million Mexicans that don’t know how to read or write, at least 1.5 million are indigenous people that speak a language other than Spanish. In addition to this, 3.3 million of all illiterate people are women.

The institute recognizes in its report that the conditions of distribution for this population, which is the object of study, pose a challenge since it is estimated that five of every ten persons that still can not read or write are concentrated in urban areas, although towns that have populations over 2,500 inhabitants are considered to be cities, so in reality illiteracy continues to be a rural issue.

It also stands out in the report that seven of every ten illiterate people live in Chiapas, Mexico State, Oaxaca, Guerrero, Guanajuato, Michoacan, and Jalisco. And it cautions that these are areas where the least progress has been made to serve the indigenous population.

Read the rest at Mexico Voices

Translated by Caroline Hennessy

Mexico Voices is a blogging endeavor aimed at raising the awareness of U.S. citizens regarding the destructive impact of the U.S. economic policy and the War on Drugs on Mexico — on its people, their economic and physical security and their human rights, on the nation’s dysfunctional justice system, and on the rule of law and Mexico’s fragile democracy. Visit the website at

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