Botswana most illiterate country in the world – research study

14 Mar 2016

Botswana is the "most illiterate" country in the world A study by Central Connecticut State University has revealed.

According to the report, Botswana was ranked at the bottom of 61 countries that were studied.

Nordic countries dominated the top five with Finland occupying the top spot, followed by Norway, Iceland, Denmark, and Sweden.

Researchers say the study was unique in that it looked past just test numbers on literacy, but rather at broader social factors to see how often people were reading overall.

South Africa was ranked 56th overall, with a poor showing in computers (56th), Newspapers (59th) and libraries (50th) – while education inputs and outputs were middling at 37th and 38th, respectively.

Notably, the study found that western nations were not as well equipped for literacy as the east, with nations from Europe and Asia scoring higher overall.

They include the number of libraries, newspapers, computer availability among others in combination with more traditional literacy tests.

"The Pacific Rim countries, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, and China, would top the list if test performance was the only measure," researcher John Miller said.

The US was 11th and Canada 10th..The lowest-ranked countries are all developing nations from Africa and central Asia – with Botswana ranked lowest at 61st, below Indonesia, Thailand and Morocco.

The study led by John W. Miller, president of Central Connecticut State University, examined several factors, including Internet and library resources, newspaper circulation, number of bookstores, years of schooling, and literacy scores on standardized tests. According to the criteria, Finland—which is known for its high-performing education system- is the world's most literate nation.

“The factors we examine present a complex and nuanced portrait of a nation’s cultural vitality,” said Miller in a statement. And what the rankings strongly suggest and world literacy demonstrates is that these kinds of literate behaviors are critical to the success of individuals and nations in the knowledge-based economies that define our global future,” Miller.