The Planet is getting more and more modernized every day. Emerging technologies, new discovering, innovative inventions suggest that the human race is improvising every succeeding day. Intelligent humans have made intelligent bots to serve mankind and make their life easier. However, even after a modern escalation in education, knowledge and intelligence, some countries do not have access to basic education and literacy. These countries are not illiterate by choice but because of their political, geographical and economic factors.

Here is a list of 10 Most Uneducated/Illiterate Countries in the World:

10. Ethiopia – 39.0 %


Ethiopia is in the northeastern part of Africa, known as the Horn of Africa. With over 102 million inhabitants, Ethiopia is the most populous landlocked country in the world & 2nd most populous in the African continent. The education system in the country follows a sequence of six years of primary school, four years of lower secondary school and two years of higher secondary school. While the country stands amongst the most illiterate countries list, the status of education has improvised over the years.

The literacy rate has increased from 23.4% in 1994 to 39% in 2007. As per a UNDP report in 2011, Ethiopia’s literacy rate was 46.7% & the same increased to 49.1% in 2011.

9. Chad – 38.0 %


A landlocked country in north-central Africa with an estimated population of 13 million. The country’s literacy rate is 38% which is one of the lowest amongst Sub-Saharan Africa. As per the findings of the U.S. Department of Labor in 2013, the school attendance of children aged 5 to 14 was as low as 39%. This was mainly because of the child labour issue as 53% of children aged 5 to 14 were working children, while 30% of children aged 7 to 14 combined work and school. Apart from this, cattle herding employed many underage children in agriculture & related activities.

8. Central African Republic – 37.0 %

Central African Republic

A landlocked country in Central Africa, with an estimated population of around 4.6 million as of 2016, Central African Republic has a literacy rate of only 37%. Although education is free and compulsory for citizens between the age of 6 to 14, a major population of the country is illiterate.

As per a report by UNICEF in 2000, 63.5 per cent of children (5 to 14 years) were working especially in rural areas. They worked in agriculture, mining, domestic services, cattle raising, and street vending. Some young girls reportedly engaged in prostitution. AIDS-related deaths have taken a heavy toll on teachers, contributing to the closure of more than 100 primary schools between 1996 to 1998. Since the 1990s, the government has been putting efforts to increase the allocation of funds for educational budget and conditions have been improving.

[Source: Bureau of International Labour Affairs, US Labour Department]

7. Afghanistan – 32.0 %


It is a mountainous country in southern Asia with plains in the north and southwest. The population is 32 million, mostly composed of ethnic Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras and Uzbeks. With merely 16000 schools in the country and roughly 9 million students, only about 60% males and 40% of females are enrolled. With the poor educational status, the country stands at 6th position in poor literacy rankings.

6. Mali – 31.0 %


Mali is the 8th largest country in Africa, with a population of over 18 million. 67% of the population is under the age of 25 years.

Education in Mali is free & compulsory for children between 7-16 years of age. The educations include 6 years of primary education & 6years of secondary education. However, even though education is free, Mali’s actual primary school enrollment rate is low because families are unable to afford uniforms, books, supplies, and other fees required to attend. The education system is plagued by a lack of schools in rural areas, as well as shortages of teachers and materials.

5. Burkina Faso – 29.0 %

Burkina Faso

It is a landlocked country in West Africa. The July 2019 population estimate by the United Nations was 20 million. Average Education in the country costs approximately CFA 25,000 (US$50) per year, which is far above the means of most Burkinabè families. As per a report by the UN Development Program in 2008, the country was ranked as the country with the lowest level of literacy in the world. The country’s desperate efforts to escalate literacy rate has made it increase from 12.8% in 1990 to 25.3% in 2008.

4. Benin – 29.0 %


Officially the Republic of Benin and formerly Dahomey, Benin is a country in West Africa, with an estimated population of 10.87 million people. Benin has one of the least literacy rates in the world at 29% population being literate. In 2007, Benin abolished school fees & started carrying out recommendations through its educational forums.

The government has allocated more than 4% of the country’s GDP for education since 2009. As per the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, in 2015, public expenditure on education amounted to 4.4% of GDP & 0.97% of GDP for tertiary education.

3. South Sudan – 27.0 %

South Sudan

South Sudan is a landlocked country in East-Central Africa which gained independence from the Republic of Sudan in 2011. The country has a population of 12 million, most of the Nilotic people & is one of the youngest countries in the world with around 50% population being below the age of 18 years. T country follows the educational system of 8 + 4 + 4 with Primary education consists of eight years, followed by four years of secondary education, and then four years of university instruction. Its current literacy rate is 27% because of the poor economy.

2. Guinea – 25.0 %


Formerly known as French Guinea, it is a west-coastal country in West Africa with a population of 12.4 million. Guinea was ruled by France until 1958. It became independent from France in 1958. In 2010, it was estimated that only 41% of adults were literate. Even after primary education is compulsory for 6 years, most children do not attend school at all. Children, particularly girls, are kept out of school to assist their parents with domestic work or agriculture or to be married. Guinea has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world.

1. Niger – 15.0 %


Officially the Republic of the Niger is a landlocked country in West Africa named after the Niger River with country’s predominantly Islamic population of about 21 million. Being, the least literate country in the world, the primary school enrollment and attendance rates are low, particularly for girls. The country’s literacy rate is least at 15%.


Also Read: 10 Top Educated Countries in the World

Also Read: List Of 10 Universities Which Are Known For Giving Billionaires To The World


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