Study confirms that Uruguay has one of the world´s lowest illiteracy rates

Measurements made last year in Uruguay indicate that only 1.6% of persons over 15 years of age were illiterate, according to the “Population’s educational achievement and level” report released last Wednesday by the Ministry of Education and Culture (MEC). The good participation of youth from the most disadvantaged social sector in the education system also stands out.

For the fourth consecutive year, the MEC presented a study with data derived from the processing of the 2013 Continuous Household Survey. This work shows the evolution of certain variables, such as the level of illiteracy in the country, educational coverage and the completion of educational cycles.

The illiteracy rate continued to decrease steadily and consistently. In 2013, only 1.2% of people from the 15 to 49 age group stated not knowing how to read nor write, whereas in the 65 years or over age group said indicator escalated to 3.5%.

Thus, Uruguay ranks among the most literate countries in South America, which for the population as a whole reaches 7.6%, and for the world 17.9%.

With regard to coverage, the degree of access that the population has to the education system, the report shows that almost all the children aged between 5, 12 and 13 are comprised, with 98.6%, 97.8% and 95.75% respectively.

The minister of Education and Culture, Ricardo Ehrlich, highlighted the reduction in the coverage gap between the poorest and richest boys and girls.

Children between 3, 4 and 5 years of age from the poorest households increased their participation in the education system by 12.4%, 16.9% and 4.7%, respectively between 2006 and 2013.

Young people aged between 14 and 17 increased their participation by 2.9%, 8.4% and 6.2%.

With regard to the reduction in the education gap, Ehrlich noted the increase in tertiary education which displayed records of 9,300 graduates and where over 50% of students come from households which have had no former access to tertiary education.

In terms of conclusion of educational cycles at elementary level, between young people aged 14 and 15, it has escalated since 2008 and in 2013 it stood at 97.1%. An increase has also been recorded for the conclusion of basic and higher middle education in young people aged 17 or 18 and 21 or 22, respectively.

Based on these achievements, the report poses as a challenge to continue working on the reduction of illiteracy in the rural area, where 2.7% of this population lacks the capacity to read and write, to increase educational coverage for people over 15 years of age, and decrease the proportion of young people aged between 15 and 20 that do not work nor study.