‘Indonesia is world’s second-least literate nation ‘

JAKARTA: Indonesia is the second-least literate nation in the world in a list of 61 measurable countries, besting only Botswana, according to new research that ranks the five Nordic states (Finland, Norway, Iceland, Denmark and Sweden) as the top five.

The study conducted by Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Connecticut, US, looked at literacy and literate behaviour characteristics in 200 countries, but only 61 countries made the list because the rest lacked relevant statistics.

Most developed nations dominated the charts such as Switzerland in sixth place, the US in seventh, Canada in 11th, France in 12th and Britain in 17th. Indonesia was in 60th place, after Thailand in 59th place.

“As knowledge increasingly becomes a product as well as a tool, the economic welfare of any nation will be ultimately and inextricably tied to the literacy of its citizens,” said the president of Central Connecticut State University, John Miller, in the preface to the study.

The rankings suggested that literate behaviours are critical to the success of individuals and nations in the knowledge-based economics that define the global future. “Societies that do not practice literate behaviour are often squalid, undernourished in mind and body, repressive of human rights and dignity, brutal and harsh,” Miller said.

However, the report stated that Singapore would have come out on top, followed by Finland, South Korea, Japan and China, if it had only ranked nations on their reading assessment results.

Changing the defining variable would lead to varied results, according to the study, putting other countries on top, such as Brazil by educational investment, Estonia by the numbers of books in libraries and the Netherlands by households with computers. By newspapers, Finland again comes out on top.

“When factors other than test scores are included, there is not a single Pacific Rim country among the top 25,” said the report. — The Jakarta Post / Asia News Network

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