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Top in Africa

Africa's Trending Topics


ByJuma Chai

Sep 20, 2019

1. Seychelles

This country not only boasts a 95% literacy level. It also happens to be the only one on the continent that met all of the UNESCO objectives with regard to education. These were:

  • Free primary school education
  • Improved childhood education
  • Improved quality of education
  • Improved literacy levels
  • Gender equality in schools
  • Better education approaches for youths and adults

The country has an impressive track record spanning back as far as the 1980s when adult literacy classes began. The freed education system also began that early and it is therefore no surprise that the country qualifies for top position.

1. Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea also boasts a 95% literacy level just like Seychelles. This is rated for both genders for all of its citizens above 15 years of age. But the country has paid particular attention to the youth. In fact, the literacy level for those between 15 and 24 years of age is 98%. Childhood education in the country is also fast gaining momentum with the past year recording over 70% enrolment rates for preschoolers. This means that a decade or two down the line the country might register even more impressive reports.

1. South Africa

This country also has a 95% literacy rate. However, reports indicate that the younger portion of the populace is experiencing a decline in terms of education. It is surprising that almost 30% of fourth graders are illiterate and almost 50% lack comprehension skills. One of the greatest problems accounting for this deficit is the aspect of multilingualism. The local school curriculum teaches the first three years in indigenous languages. Then when students get to their fourth year they make the switch to English.

At this level, they are not good enough in the local languages and are even worse in English. This makes it very hard for them to achieve literacy. This issue needs to be addressed if the country is to sustain its current literacy levels.

2. Sao Tome and Principe

This country has a 92% literacy level with all individuals over the age of 15 being able to read, write and comprehend. This is a marked improvement based on the record from a decade back. In 2008, the literacy level was only 69%.

The improvement can be attributed to modifications in the education system. It has been able to do this after the government increased its budgetary allocation for the education system. It also made the primary level of education mandatory and this clearly helped propel it to the top.

3. Libya

This country has had to take bold steps to get to the 91% literacy level that it currently holds. In the early 1920’s only 2% of its population was literate. But the government made an effort to improve this situation. Basic education was made compulsory for the youth and adult literacy classes were popularized. More than one million Libyan children enjoy advantages from the special free education provided by lots of public schools. Education as a basic human right is compulsory up to 9th grade. Primary education is regulated by strict laws and parents are frequently prosecuted in Libya if their children don’t go to school.

3. Namibia

Namibia also holds 91% literacy levels. This is a marked improvement from around 89% in 2011. Namibian government has taken several steps to ensure education for every person avoiding gender discrimination. The country offers 10 years free education between 6 and 16 years of ages and it is compulsory. The Constitution contains strict instruction that Namibian people will enjoy free primary education. The local Ministry of Education takes the crown for the improved literacy rate because its National Literacy Program has to be a major factor behind the growth. The country also has a significant budgetary allocation, about 30% being exclusively dedicated to education.

4. Cape Verde

This country boasts a literacy level of 88%. Its growth has been steadily advancing since the year 1975 when the current educational system came into play. Even though in 1990 the country only reported a 62% literacy level, it has toiled day and night to get to its current position. Primary education is compulsory in Cape Verde for the children ages between 6 and 14 years. Cape Verde also provides free primary education for the children ages between 6 and 12.

5. Botswana

Botswana also has 88% literacy level thanks to the government’s initiative to commit to the education sector. Education is mandatory for the children of specific age range beginning from five and ending to sixteen. Secondary education is not compulsory and not free in any ways. It also has a National Literacy Program in place that is assisting young and old to join the bandwagon. It has been reaching out to adults in particular since 1977 and has enjoyed great success.

6. Swaziland

Swaziland enjoys literacy levels of 87% and shows one of the greatest improvements over the past few decades. For instance, in the late 1970s only 55% of adults could read and write. But the figure is now so much higher. Primary education is not compulsory in Swaziland, but is entirely government-funded. School-going children receive textbooks, exercise books, stationary, and meals free of charge.

6. Zimbabwe

In the list of 10 most educated countries in Africa, Zimbabwe is positioned at 10th place. The African Economist’s report shows that Zimbabwe is leading the African continent with a praiseworthy literacy rate of 87%, it is equal to Swaziland. With an average literacy improvement of 3.79% per year, the country is one of the most educated countries in Africa. Education has been declared as the basic human right after the independence and currently, the government has invested heavily to spread the education all over the country.

Juma Chai

A writer dedicated to providing the world with the best insights into Africa.

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