What Is the Literacy Rate in Finland?

The literacy rate in Finland is among the highest in the world, at 100% of its population aged 15 and over being able to read and write. Finland’s population places high importance on literacy, with nearly 50% of Finnish children being able to read before starting school. The country also has a low secondary school drop-out rate and over 93% enrollment rate, which contributes to its high literacy rate. Greenland and Luxembourg are the only other countries in the world with a 100% literacy rate. The West African country of Burkina Faso has the lowest literacy rate in the world, at just approximately 21% of its population being able to read or write.

More about the worldwide literacy rate:

  • 12% of the world’s population, approximately 775 million people, are considered illiterate.
  • If every country had a 100% literacy rate, it would save the global economy over $1.19 billion US Dollars (USD) every year.
  • 19% of US students graduate without being able to read at an adult level, according to findings from the U.S. Department of Education and the National Institute of Literacy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the current literacy rate in Finland?

Finland boasts one of the highest literacy rates in the world, with near-universal literacy among its population. According to recent data, the literacy rate in Finland is approximately 99%, reflecting the country's strong educational system and comprehensive early childhood education programs. This high literacy rate is a testament to Finland's investment in education and its commitment to ensuring that all citizens have the skills necessary for personal and professional development.

How does Finland's literacy rate compare to other countries?

Finland's literacy rate is among the top globally, consistently ranking alongside other countries with advanced educational systems. For instance, the literacy rate in Nordic countries is generally high, with Norway, Sweden, and Denmark also reporting rates close to 99%. This places Finland well above the global average literacy rate, which UNESCO reported as 86.3% for adults over the age of 15 in 2018. Finland's emphasis on quality education from an early age contributes to its outstanding performance in literacy compared to many other nations.

What factors contribute to Finland's high literacy rate?

Several factors contribute to Finland's high literacy rate, including a strong emphasis on early childhood education, highly trained teachers, and a culture that values reading. Finnish children have access to comprehensive education starting at a young age, with a curriculum that focuses on play, creativity, and social skills. Teachers in Finland are required to have a master's degree, ensuring a high level of expertise in the classroom. Additionally, libraries are widespread and well-utilized, fostering a love for reading among Finns.

How does the Finnish education system support literacy?

The Finnish education system is renowned for its supportive approach to literacy and overall learning. It provides free education for all, from pre-school to higher education, which is a significant factor in achieving high literacy rates. The system emphasizes individualized attention, with small class sizes and special support for those who need it. Furthermore, there is less focus on standardized testing, allowing for a more diverse and engaging learning experience that promotes literacy and critical thinking skills.

Are there any unique teaching methods used in Finland to promote literacy?

Finland is known for its innovative teaching methods that promote literacy. One such approach is the use of 'phenomenon-based learning,' where students explore real-world concepts and problems across various subjects, rather than learning in subject-specific silos. This interdisciplinary method encourages reading and research, enhancing literacy skills. Additionally, Finnish schools often prioritize free play and outdoor activities, which are believed to indirectly support cognitive development and readiness for learning, including literacy.

More Info: cia.gov

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