I've heard comments on TV of how educated the Egyptians are. As a retired teacher, I wondered about that. I found that Egypt's illiteracy rate according to the United Nations 2009 World Almanac, The Economist, shows that 28% are illiterate. The United States enjoys only a 1% illiteracy level. Even at that, we are having a terrible time with people out of work and finding no jobs. However, it does help to be able to read and write.
Compare that to Israel and we find Israel has only 3% of the population that are illiterate, and they also have more than 1 million Arabs. Everyone gets a chance to go to school.
Palestine is already on the list and the country has not been created yet. Does this mean Gaza and Palestinian West Bank cities? At any rate they have an 8% illiteracy.
Jordan has 9% illiteracy.
Lebanon to Israel's north has 12% illiteracy.
Syria has 19% illiteracy.
Yemen has 46% illiteracy.
Iran has 17.6% illiteracy.
The highest illiteracy level of the Middle East is Afghanistan with a 72%.
The results show that 774 million people in the world age 15 and over can't read according to the Global Campaign for Education. Of the Middle East, 68 million are illiterate. If they can't read, they can't learn about the world other than what they see on TV, and they have to have skills to get a job to have a TV. Skills are usually developed through education. Most of the riots happening in the Middle East are because of not having jobs and without jobs people have no food or transportation; all of which usually brings happiness and security.
What is worrisome is that illiterate people are more prone to falling for propaganda from people like the Muslim Brotherhood. The only way illiterate people can check an organization would be by word of mouth. It's hard enough to wonder if literate people aren't doing the same thing as so many never take the time to read much today.
While the Middle East complains of not having jobs, Israel has been the most active in the world creating businesses and rates #1 in being a start-up nation. The book, Start Up Nation by Dan Senor and Saul Singer explains this economic miracle of a country that only has 7.2 million and is just 62 years old has such an accomplishment. They have created more start up companies than Japan, China, India, Korea, Canada or the UK has. This has been done even with the fact that they have been surrounded by enemies and have been enduring missiles fired into their country.
It turns out that Israel has been a democratic country since the day it was born. Now it's in even bigger danger with Egypt rioting and the danger of the Muslim Brotherhood gaining control. They have already stated to prepare Egypt for war with Israel. Even so, our president Obama has already announced that their new government should include the Muslim Brotherhood.
With this, the Middle Eastern nations are reading in their native language. This is not including English skills. Being literate in Arabic and not English means they are reading only slanted materials. In Israel, students learn Hebrew and have a choice between Arabic or French, and all study English. To get into the university they must take an English test called the Bagroot. To pass this test most parents have to hire tutors for their children for extra help.
Nadene Goldfoot, Retired Elementary teacher, EFL in Israel, ELL in schools in USA, ESL in college level