22% of adult Canadians have serious problems dealing with printed
About 45% of new Canadian jobs created in this decade will require at
least 16 years of education.
Canadians with the lowest level of literacy skills have an
unemployment rate of 26% compared to 4% for Canadians with the highest
Nearly 1.4 million Canadian children 15 years of age and younger are
living in low-income homes. 34% of children from the lowest income
families do not complete their high school education.
60% of Canadians on social assistance have not completed high school.
42% of Native Canadians do not graduate from high school, compared to
22% in the non-native population.
Almost three-quarters of 626 Canadian companies surveyed feel that
they have a significant problem with functional literacy in some part of
Only 10% of Canadians see illiteracy as part of our economic
Around the world
An estimated 875 million adults are illiterate worldwide. Nearly
two-thirds of them are women.
In 1969, the year man took his first step on the moon, 4 out of 5
women in Africa could not read or write. It is estimated that today
nearly half of all African women are still illiterate.
More than 100 million children, including at least 60 million girls,
have no access to primary schooling.
Since 1985, there are more female students enrolled in higher
education than male students in most industrialized countries. In
contrast, in the world's least developed countries, only 1 in 4 students
of higher education are women.
UN studies consistently show that all countries that have
successfully reduced their population growth rate have one factor in
common — a high female literacy rate.
In the world women represent 94% of pre-primary school teachers, 58%
of primary school teachers and 48% of secondary school teachers.
In most developing countries on average, 33% of public spending on
education benefits the richest fifth of the population, while only 13%
of education spending benefits the poorest fifth.
Sources of facts and statistics:
- Adult Literacy in Canada: Results of a National Survey, Ottawa:
Statistics Canada, 1990.
International Adult Literacy Survey, The Organization for
Economic Cooperation and Development, 1997.
- The State of the World's Children 2001 Report, UNICEF, 2001.
- The State of the World's Children 2000 Report, UNICEF, 2000.
- The State of the World's Children 1999 Report, UNICEF, 1999.
- UNESCO Institute for Statistics