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Field Detail
Theme Population and Development
Code PD-EDU-1.5
MDG code MDG-2.3
Sub-theme Education
Name Literacy Rates of 15-24 year olds (%) (MDG 2.3)
Definition Literacy rate of 15–24 year-olds, or the youth literacy rate, is the percentage of the population aged 15–24 years who can both read and write with understanding a short simple statement on everyday life. SDP define as any or more than one language when extrapolating from Census
Calculation/Formula Number of people aged 15–24 years who are literate in any or more than one language / Total population in the same age group x 100
Unit of Measure %
Range (eg Age) 15-24 years
Limitations The Youth Literacy Rate reflects the outcomes of primary education over the previous 10 years or so. As a measure of the effectiveness of the primary education system, it is often seen as a proxy measure of social progress and economic achievement. The literacy rate for this analysis is simply the complement of the illiteracy rate. It is not a measure of the quality and adequacy of the literacy level needed for individuals to function in a society. Reasons for failing to achieve the literacy standard may include low quality of schooling, difficulties in attending school or dropping out before reaching grade 5. Literacy is measured crudely in population censuses, either through self or household declaration or by assuming that people with no schooling are illiterate. This causes difficulty for international comparisons. Comparability over time, even for the same survey, may also be a problem because definitions of literacy used in the surveys are not standardized. These data must be used and interpreted in conjunction with the Table of Literacy Metadata Information. The latest revision of Principles and Recommendations for the Population and Housing Censuses advises countries against adopting a proxy measurement based on educational attainment. It recommends that literacy questions be administered as part of national census and household surveys, or as part of post-census sample enumeration. Shortcomings in the definitions of literacy, measurement problems and infrequency of censuses and household surveys weaken this indicator as a means of the annual monitoring of education outcomes related to the goal of achieving universal primary education.
Purpose/Rationale Represents major indicator of social and economic development status. Describe and monitor recent developments in achieving basic education for all
Policy Linkages National Development Plans, National Sustainable Development Frameworks, MDGs
Preferred Data Sources Census
Alternative_Data Sources MOE digests and statistical reports, Household surveys
Census - HIES - DHS tag Census
Primary Data Collection System National Administrative Database - Education Information Management Systems (EMIS)
Frequency of Data Collection 5-10 years
Other agencies countries_ must report to: UNESCO
SPC Responsibility - Data Management SDP
Country Specific Issues Cook Islands – Census usually held in November at end of school year
SPC Programme SDP
Numerator Number of people aged 15–24 years who are literate in any or more than one language
Denominator Total population in the same age group
Factor x 100
Unit %
Other Metadata Link http://mdgs.un.org/unsd/mdg/Metadata.aspx