Study: Indonesia is the “second-least literate nation in the world”

Indonesia no read good? 

That’s the assessment of a new study, which ranked 61 countries from most to least literate. Finland came in first. Indonesia came in second-to-last, just ahead of #61 Botswana.

The “World’s Most Literate Nations” study was conducted by John Miller, the president of Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, and is based on data from literacy achievement tests as well as “literate behaviour characteristics” which includes data on things like years of schooling, and availability of libraries, newspapers and computers. 

The study tried to look at data from 200 countries, but only ended up evaluating 61 because the rest lacked enough relevant data (which sort of makes it seem like Indonesia is getting punished for being one of the few countries to actually have enough data to assess, but whatever…).

Unsurprisingly, Finland topped the list at #1 (Finland wins a lot of these rankings) followed by Norway and Iceland. The US came in #7 and the UK #17. 

Elsewhere in Southeast Asia, Singapore came in at #36 while Malaysia was ranked #52 and Thailand came in just ahead of Indonesia at #59.

Interestingly, if the study had just been based on international reading test scores, Singapore would’ve come in at #1 and Indonesia would’ve come in at a slightly more respectable #45, ahead of Malaysia and Thailand.

But the study aimed to assess each country’s overall “literate behaviours and supporting resources”. And it’s pretty obvious that Indonesia is seriously lacking in literary resources (how many libraries in Jakarta can you name?). 

With so many people here glued to their smartphones all day, some might argue that Indonesians are reading more than ever. But without the right literary education and resources, they might not have the tools to properly comprehend and question what they’re reading – which is really important now that there are so many websites running sensationalized stories with crazy headlines (not us of course, we would never do that, but there are plenty of others!).

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