SA's adult literacy level lags behind

Johannesburg - South Africa's adult literacy level is lagging behind other emerging markets even though it spends more on it, the SA Institute of Race Relations said on Wednesday.

The country has an adult literacy rate of 89%, and the country's public education spending as a proportion of total government spending amounted to 18% in 2009/10, according to the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Report.

Chile's and Indonesia's proportional spend was also 18%, but they had adult literacy rates of 98.6% and 92% respectively.

Lithuania and Poland's adult literacy levels were 99.7% and 99.5%, with their expenditure amounting to 13% and 12% respectively.

Hungary and Bulgaria had an education expenditure of 10%, with adult literacy rates at 99% and 98%.

Of the Brazil, Russia, India, China (Brics) grouping, Brazil's adult literacy rate stood at 90% although its education expenditure was only 16% of total government expenditure.

Russia and China's literacy levels were at 99.5% and 93.7%, but no data was available for how much they spent. India had the lowest adult literacy rate at 62.8%.

Jonathan Snyman, a researcher at the institute, said: "The way forward relies on strengthening the quality of teaching at school level and focusing on the commitment of teachers and principals."

The UN defines the adult literacy rate as the proportion of people aged 15 years and over who can read, write, and speak.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
President Ramaphosa has punted the idea of mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for South Africans. This is:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
The right thing to do. We desperately need more South Africans vaccinated to prevent further mutations and restore normality in our lives.
72% - 7855 votes
A risky strategy. Compulsory vaccinations may have unintended consequences and damage our rollout campaign.
28% - 3091 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
15.95
+0.7%
Rand - Pound
21.22
+0.4%
Rand - Euro
18.02
+0.8%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.31
+0.8%
Rand - Yen
0.14
+0.9%
Gold
1,767.33
-0.8%
Silver
22.39
+0.3%
Palladium
1,780.47
+2.0%
Platinum
941.12
+0.6%
Brent Crude
68.87
-0.5%
Top 40
64,555
-0.4%
All Share
71,021
-0.3%
Resource 10
67,557
-0.5%
Industrial 25
93,673
-0.4%
Financial 15
13,890
+0.1%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE