An official at Iran’s Ministry of Education says there are 8 million illiterate people in the country, or 10 percent of the population, but a lower figure than other official estimates.
Earlier last April, Iranian parliament’s research center had reported that nearly nine million Iranians are suffering from "absolute illiteracy."
Nonetheless, the Ministry of Education's director of literacy, Leyla Rezaee insists that there are only eight million illiterate Iranians.
Describing education as the axis of progress and development, Ms. Rezaee says, "The Ministry is using the 'wishes' of the Islamic Republic's Supreme Leader (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) as its road map to educate 600,000 persons per year, before the end of the Sixth Five-Year Economic, Cultural, and Social Development Plan", which ends in 2021.
Meanwhile, sstatistics compiled by international organizations, such as UNESCO show that the number of "absolutely illiterate" people in the Islamic Republic is much higher, despite the implementation of three strategic plans for eradicating illiteracy in Iran.
Based on the World Bank statistics, nearly 65% of the population were literate in pre-Islamic Revolution (1979) in Iran (with the same rate in Turkey). The same rate in 2016 reached 85.5% in Iran, while in Turkey it was 96%.
Therefore, the World Bank assessment shows that 11.6 million absolute illiterate people are living in Iran today.
UNESCO's statistics also show that 2% of under 24-year-old population of Iran are still suffering from absolute illiteracy, whereas the same rate in Turkey and Iran's northern neighbors, Republics of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, and Turkmenistan) is almost 0%.
In March 2018, the head of Iran's Literacy Movement Organization, Ali Baqerzadeh told the state-run Iran Students News Agency (ISNA) that the number of absolute illiterate in the country was 8.8 million, and the number of semi-illiterates eleven million.
The border provinces of Iran are suffering from the highest rate of illiteracy.