Literacy: Gateway to a World of Exploits

Biale Zua


The importance of literacy to the personal development of an individual and existence of any nation cannot be overemphasized. Literacy is the foundation for meaningful development of any nation. It is not a single entity but an interconnection of several fields―education, health, agriculture, and more. For example, a literate individual can have access to information relating to her career or business. However, not every individual in the society is literate enough to contribute to national development. Thus, strong literacy skills are necessary to function in today’s contemporary society. This research examines literacy across African countries with a view of determining countries with high literacy rates. Countries in sub-Saharan Africa have low literacy rates with gender and regional disparity. Therefore, sub-Saharan Africa national governments need to develop strong literacy skills in their countries to participate effectively in the globalized society.


Literacy, Sub-Saharan Africa, Lifelong Learning, National Development, Disparity

Full Text:



Adam, S., Adom, D., & Bediako, A.B. (2016). The Major Factors That Influence Basic School Dropout in Rural Ghana: The Case of Asunafo South District in the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana. Journal of Education and Practice, 7, 28.

Adegbija, E. (2004). Language Policy and Planning in Nigeria. Current Issues in Language Planning, 5(3), 181-246.

Alexander, N.; Bamgbose, A.; Bloch, C.; Busch, B.; Coste, D. Edwards, V.; Fal, A.; Ndumbe III, K.; & Samassékou, A. (2007). Literacy and Linguistic Diversity in a Global Perspective: An Intercultural Exchange with African Countries. Strasbourg: Council of Europe Publishing.

Alidou, H. & Aitchison, J. (2009). The State and Development of Adult Learning and Education in Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Synthesis report. UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning

Atitola, O. (2016). Level of Community Mental Health Literacy in Sub-Saharan Africa: Current Studies are Limited in Number, Scope, Spread, and Cognizance of Cultural Nuances. Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, 69, 2, 93–101.

Basili, C. (2015). European Network on Information Literacy. Retrieved March 13, 2020 from

Basili, C. (2011). A Framework for Analyzing and Comparing Information Literacy Policies in European Countries. Library Trends, 60, 2, 395-418.

Beegle, L., Christiaensen, L., Dabalen, L., & Gaddis, I. (2016). Poverty in a Rising Africa. International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank

Benavot, A. (2015). Literacy in the 21st century: Towards a dynamic nexus of social relations. International Review Education, 61, 273–294.

Countrymeters. (2020). Botswana Population. Retrieved Oct 25, 2020 from,98%2C024%20are%20illiterate.

Department of Higher Education & Training in South Africa. (2011). Public Post-School Options Information Pack for the Class of 2010 (and those Persons of Earlier Classes who are not in Education, Training or Employment). Retrieved March 30, 2020 from

Ford, L. (2015). Two-thirds of World's Illiterate Adults are Women, report finds. Retrieve April 6, 2020 from

Gallagher, M. (1993). A Public Choice Theory of Budget: Implications for Education in less Developed Countries. Comparative Education Review, 37, 2, 90-106

Gentry, J., & McAdams, L. (2013). Digital Story Expressions: Blending Best Practices in Literacy and Technology with Middle School Students. In Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2013 (pp. 4253-4257). Chesapeake, VA: AACE. Retrieved November 4, 2020 from

Ghana News Agency (2013). Over half of the world’s 58million school dropouts are in Africa. Retrieved April 10, 2020.

Gilbert, L.; Teravainen, A., Clark, C. & Shaw, S. (2018). Literacy and Life Expectancy. Retrieved March 15, 2020 from

Govinda, R., & Biswal, K. (2014). Literacy Policies in South, West, and Central Asia. In Regional Perspectives on Literacy Policies, Strategies and Financing. Emerging Trends in Adult Literacy. Paris: UNESCO.

Gupta, S., Verhoeven, M., & Tiongson, E. (1999). Does Higher Government Spending buy Better Results in Education and health Care? A Working Paper of the International Monetary Fund. Retrieve November 4, 2020 from

Howie, S.J., Combrinck, C., Tshele, M., Roux, K., McLeod Palane, N. & Mokoena, G.M. (2017). PIRLS 2016 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study 2016 Grade 5 Benchmark Participation: South African Children’s Reading Literacy Achievement. Pretoria: Centre for Evaluation and Assessment.

International Literacy Association. (1996). Why Literacy? Retrieved Feb 3, 2020 from

Jeanne, C. S. (1983). Stages of Reading Development. New York: McGraw Hill.

Kann, U. & Taylor, D. C. (1989). Adult Literacy Rate in Botswana. Botswana Notes and Records. 20, 135-141.

Kim, S. (2018). Literacy skills gaps: A Cross-Level Analysis on International and Intergenerational Variations. International Review of Education, 64, 85-110.

Lind, A. & UNESCO-IIEP, (2011). Literacy for All: Making a Difference. Retrieved Feb 12, 2020 from

Literacy Rate by Country 2020. Retrieved March 15, 2020 from

Macmillan, L & O’Neil, M. (2012). Teaching about Frederick Douglass: A Resource Guide for Teachers of Cultural Diversity. (30-44).

Max, R. (2014). Human Development Index (HDI) In Retrieved March 15, 2020 from

McKay, V. (2007). Adult Basic Education and Training in South Africa. Retrieved March 30, 2020.

Mehrotra, S. (1998). Education for All: Policy Lessons from High Achieving Countries. UNICEF Staff Working Papers, Evaluation, Policy, and Planning Series No EPP-EVL-98-005 (New York: UNICEF)

Mitra, A. (2014). Coalition and Partnership in Adult Literacy and Non-Formal Education: Experiences from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. In Regional Perspective of Literacy Policies, Strategies, and Financing. Emerging Trends in Adult Education. Paris: UNESCO

Ortiz-Ospina, E. & Beltkian, D. (2018). Measurement Today. Retrieved from

Parrilla, R.K. & Stack-Cutler, H. (2011). Literacy and Reading Behavior. In B. B. Brown, & M. J. Prinstein (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Adolescence, 1, 203-211.

Pariona, A. (2017). The 10 Most Literate Countries of Africa. In World Atlas. Retrieved Feb 13, 2020 from

Perry, K. (2008). Primary School Literacy in Southern Africa: African Perspectives. Comparative Education, 44, 1, 57-73.

Popovic, K. (2014). Regional Perspective on Literacies. Adult Literacy Supply and Demand in South Eastern Europe. In Regional Perspective of Literacy Policies, Strategies, and Financing. Emerging Trends in Adult Education. Paris: UNESCO

Prettyman, J. (2019). The Literacy Gender Gap. Retrieved March 13, 2020 from

Republic of Equatorial Guinea. (2013; 2015). Equatorial Guinea Ranked Second in Literacy in Africa by African Economist Magazine. Retrieved Oct 24, 2020 from

Robinson, D. (1988). Language Policy and Planning. Retrieved January 6, 2021 from

Seychelles Institute of Distance and Open Learning (2020). Retrieved Oct 24, 2020 from

Shiundu, A. (2018). More Must Happen, accessed Feb 12, 2020 from

Smith, L. (2013). Towards a Model of Critical Information Literacy Instruction for the Development of Political Agency. Journal of Information Literacy 7, No. 2, 15–32.

Smith-Greenaway, E. (2015). Educational Attainment and Adult Literacy: A Descriptive Account of 31 Sub-Saharan Africa Countries, Retrieved April 7, 2020 from

South Africa Literacy Rate - Historical Data (2017). Retrieved March 30, 2020 from

Srivastava, N. (2017). Literate Schools. Retrieve Oct 23, 2020 from

Stambler, L. G. (2013). Media Literacy. Developed for the Pier Institute: Global Youth in the Digital Age Retrieved Oct 21, 2020 from

Tobin, C. (1983). Developing Computer Literacy. The Arithmetic Teacher 30, 6, 60, 22-23.

UNESCO (2019). Fact Sheet-Sub Saharan Africa. Retrieved Jan 16, 2020 from

UNESCO (2010). Achieving Gender Equality, Women’s Empowerment and Strengthening Development Cooperation. Retrieved Oct 23, 2020 from

UNESCO (2006). Literacy 2006. Background Papers for the Education for All Global Monitoring Report 2006, Literacy for Life. Retrieved Oct 25, 2020 from

UNESCO (2005). Aspects of Literacy Assessment: Topics and issues from the UNESCO Expert Meeting, 10 -12 June 2003. Retrieved Oct 25, 2020

UNESCO Institute for Statistics (2019). Retrieved March 7, 2020 from

UNESCO Institute of Statistics (2017). Retrieved Oct 25, 2020 from

UNICEF (2012). All Children in School by 2015-Global Initiative on Out-of-School Children. Retrieved Oct 23, 2020 from

UNICEF Press Release (2018). 3 in 10 young people in conflict or disaster-stricken countries are illiterate – UNICEF. Retrieve March 31, 2020 from

United Nations (2020). International Literacy Day 8 September. Retrieved Feb 12, 2020 from https://www.s/literacy-day

Wadhwa, D. (2019). More Men than Women are Literate. Retrieved March 13, 2020 from

What Is Technology? - Definition & Types. (2016). Retrieved March 21, 2020 from

World Bank (2015). Millennium Development Goals: Achieve Universal Primary Education by 2015. Retrieved on April 10, 2020 from

World Bank Data (2020). Retrieved March 23, 2020 from

World Bank Data (2019). Retrieved March 23, 2020 from

World Health Organization: Adult Literacy Rate %. Retrieved March 14, 2020 from,to%20make%20simple%20arithmetic%20calculations

Worldometers. (2019). South Sudan Population. Retrieved Feb 15, 2020 from

Yousif, A. A. (2014). Adult Literacy and Adult Education in Arab States: Bahrain, Egypt, Omar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. In Regional Perspective of Literacy Policies, Strategies, and Financing. Emerging Trends in Adult Education. Paris: UNESCO.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2013-2023 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

International Journal of Education and Literacy Studies  

You may require to add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list’ If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox'. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.