In Serbia, about 14% of the population, more precisely 850,000 adults, have not finished elementary school, although it is compulsory by law. At the same time, one in five people do not have a high school diploma, Blic writes.
2.68% of the population in Serbia is uneducated, 11% have incomplete primary education, 20.76% have completed primary education, while almost 2% are illiterate.
Belgrade Faculty of Philosophy professor and andragogy expert, Katarina Popović, says that every year more and more people are left without elementary education because the state does not take proper care of these things; a third of the school population has not even tried to enrol in high school.
“These statistics have slightly improved since the previous census. The total number of completely illiterate people has decreased, but that is no consolation. The number of people who did not finish elementary school is huge, and the number of those who finished elementary school at most, adding up the population data, is under 34%,” Professor Popović adds.
According to her, these people are classified as functionally illiterate.
“This means that in this group of people ranges from those who literally don’t know how to write a single sentence and can only read the headlines to those who can cope with everyday life but haven’t mastered literacy skills to improve their quality of life enough, because, for example, they can’t read instructions regarding medication, which I think is worrying,” she says.
Despite the fact that 1.96% of the population declared during the census to be completely illiterate, Professor Popović says that research has shown that that number can easily be doubled, which is proven in practice.
A very worrying fact is that women predominate among the uneducated and illiterate population. Although similar situation persists in the rest of the world too, in Serbia it is much more pronounced than in the rest of Europe.
“In the former Yugoslavia, we had a high level of equality that many envied and praised. Now, the situation has changed and we have returned to those traditional, patriarchal values, but in a negative sense, especially in rural areas. Such attitudes are also supported by those people who create slogans such as ‘a daughter will make someone else happy’. This is a bad message to send and one that needs to change,” Professor Popović warns.
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