Percentage of population aged 15 years and over who can, with understanding, both read and write, a short simple statement on his / her everyday life. Generally, ‘literacy’ also encompasses ‘numeracy’, the ability to make simple arithmetic calculations (Source: UIS: p.3)


A high illiteracy rate (or low literacy rate) suggests the existence of serious shortcomings in the primary education system and / or literacy programmes that have prevented a large proportion of the population from acquiring the ability to use the written word (and making simple arithmetic calculations) in daily life and to continue learning. It is important to remember that literacy rates look backwards, if you encounter a low literacy rate you should make an assessment of factors that may have affected education in the past, such as inadequate financing, armed conflict and other emergency situations, etc. The data for this indicator should be disaggregated to measure relative enjoyment across and between groups, for example boys compared to girls, persons with disabilities compared to the general population and those living in different regions of the country. Inequalities in enjoyment may constitute discrimination

Available data: 
Human Rights Standards: 

Article 28 (3), Convention on the Rights of the Child; Article 13 (2), International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; Article 10 (e), Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; Article 41 (1), Arab Charter; Article 12 (2) (a), Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa; Article 13 (4) (g), African Youth Charter; Articles 34 (h) & 50, Charter of the Organisation of American States

Levels and Types of Education: 
Types of Indicator: 
Levels of disaggregation: 
Gender, Income, Minority, Region, Urban/Rural, Persons with Disabilities, Persons with HIV/AIDS, Migrants, Refugees and IDPs, Age