Statistics show that 1.46 million live in the countryside, where official unemployment reaches 20%, although problems of under- employment mean the actual rate is likely to be far higher. Despite the province's fertility and potential in agriculture, farms are suffering from a lack of investment and are under- performing, leading to rural poverty. In most Arab villages there are no schools. While the illiteracy rate in Iran is about 10%-18%, it is over 50% among Arab men in the region and even higher for Ahwazi women. Ahwazi students drop out of schools at a rate of 30% at elementary level, 50% at secondary and 70% at high school because they are forced to study the “official language”, Farsi, a language which is not theirs. The learning of Arabic is confined to religion and is commonly classical Arabic rather than the local dialect. Consequently, Ahwazi Arabs are often semi-literate in their native language, but struggle with learning in a language that is foreign to them.