What to know

Arab Literacy Rate – Map

Arab Literacy Rate - Arab girl reading a book at home

The list of Arab literacy rate holds many surprises. The most newly developed countries hold the highest literacy rates, and you you’ll be surprised who holds second place on the list of Arab literacy rate.

There is a large misconception with Arab literacy rate around the world. With the flashing images of war and stories of children not being able to attend school because of conflicts, the majority of the world would believe that the literacy rates in Arab countries are low.

The truth is that the Arab literacy rate varies between regions, and depends on the country’s development. Some of the newly developed countries hold the highest literacy rate, like Qatar with 97.3%.

Other countries like Egypt (73.8%), Lebanon (93.9%) and Syria (86.4%) were homes to the first universities in the region, Al Azhar founded in 790 AD, the American University of Beirut was founded in 1866 as the Syrian Protestant College, and the University of Damascus, founded in 1908 as the Syrian University, but still come behind Qatar, whose first university was founded in 1973.

Probably most surprising on the list is Palestine. Even though suffering from occupation and war since 1948, Palestinians are the second on the list. With a literacy rate of 96.5% they are the second most educated Arab nation. Not to forget Mohamad Zakaria,the Palestinian-born who has 3 bachelors, 8 masters and a doctorate degree. Along with several other certifications and publications, Zakaria is considered one of the most educated people in the world today.

The Arab literacy rate seemed to go down as you move to areas of conflict and poor economy (except Palestine). Somalia has the lowest Arab literacy rate, with 37.8% of its people being literate, and only 25.8% of their women being literate. Mauritania, Yemen and Djibouti comes after, with 41.6%, 55% and 58.4% respectively.

Arab Literacy Rate - Map

Complete Arab Literacy Rate List (2015)
1. Qatar 97.3%
2. Palestine 96.5%
3. Kuwait 96.3%
4. Bahrain 95.7%
5. Jordan 95.4%
6. KSA 94.7%
7. Lebanon 93.9%
8. UAE 93.8%
9. Oman 91.1%
10. Libya 90%
11. Syria 86.4%
12. Tunisia 81.8%
13. Algeria 80.2%
14. Iraq 78.7%
15. Comoros 77.8%
16. Sudan 75.9%
17. Egypt 73.8%
18. Yemen 70.1%
19. Djibouti 67.9%
20. Mauritania 52.1%
21. Somalia 37.8%

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