Literacy in Indonesia

January 4, 2013 • Country, Education


As a country of more than 238 million people that live across the archipelago, Indonesia indeed has a huge challenge to educate the people and increasing literacy. Literacy is believed as the foundation of all learning. Hence it is an essential part in improving every individuals’ lives, eradicating poverty, as well as fostering cultural identity and tolerance.

In 1930, only less than six percent of the population was literate, while the 1990 census data reveals 84 percent literacy rate in Indonesia. However, Indonesia showed a strong commitment and achievement in reducing illiteracy by half by 2015, as stated in the Dakar Framework for Action, adopted by the World Education Forum in 2002 to achieve Education for All.

Indonesia’s literacy rate had reached about 89.51% in 2002 and ten years later, Indonesia has reached 92.60% for adults and 99.5% for youth. Therefore, the Directorate of Community Education Development, Ministry of Education is awarded the 2012 UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize for its Improving Quality of Literacy Education through Entrepreneurship Literacy, Reading Culture and Tutor Training Programme.

The award was given on September, 8th 2012 in Paris for Indonesia’s efforts to eradicate illiteracy through entrepreneurship, reading, culture and training. This national program has reached over than 4 million people in more 7.000 locations and 75.000 villages throughout the country. Moreover, this program also prioritized illiterate women, which held 64% of the illiterate people in Indonesia.


The Literacy Acceleration program in Indonesia involves a Multiple and Entrepreneurship Literacy program, which combines family and digital literacy, natural disaster prevention and literacy for peace. Furthermore, this national program also uses folklore-based literacy, which also aims to preserve local history through local legends and myths stories. Likewise, the AKsara agar Berdaya (AKRAB) (“Literacy creates Power”) is more on an entrepreneurship program, which implements entrepreneurship and life skills training (“train to gain”). Hence, learners are expected that they are able to increase their incomes, be independent and self-employable.

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