• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Swedes are among 'most literate' people on the planet
A Swede at a book fair in Gothenburg last year. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Swedes are among 'most literate' people on the planet

The Local · 10 Mar 2016, 10:14

Published: 10 Mar 2016 10:14 GMT+01:00

Finland is in the lead in the new list, followed by Norway, Iceland and Denmark, with Sweden coming in fifth place in the ranking.
 
The Nordic countries are judged to deserve their positions due to what researchers describe as five core "literate behaviours". In simple terms these involve having a wide range of newspapers, a large number of public libraries, easy access to computers and strong educational resources.
 
The research was led by John W. Miller, president of Central Connecticut State University in North America, who spent a decade analysing literacy around the world.
 
He describes the Nordic nations as sharing a "monolithic culture" which "values reading" and argues that his list is much more nuanced than other studies which look purely at test scores, such as the global Pisa rankings, which measure pupils' problem solving abilities.
 
"The Pacific Rim countries, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, and China, would top the list if test performance was the only measure. Finland would be the only non-Pacific Rim country to rank high," he said in a statement following the release of the ranking.
 
"When factors such as library size and accessibility are added in, the Pacific Rim nations drop dramatically."
 
 
South Korea is the highest ranking Asian country in his list, in 22nd place, while Japan takes the 32rd spot, followed closely by Singapore and China, which just edge into the top 40.
 
A total of 200 countries were looked at by researchers for the project, however some had missing relevant data, meaning that only 61 were included in the final table.
 
Thailand, Indonesia and Botswana claimed the bottom three places.
 
Story continues below…
The next highest ranking European country after the Nordic nations was Switzerland, which came sixth.
 
"The factors we examine present a complex and nuanced portrait of a nation’s cultural vitality," said Miller.
 
"What the rankings strongly suggest and world literacy demonstrates is that these kinds of literate behaviours are critical to the success of individuals and nations in the knowledge-based economies that define our global future."
 
Sweden's success in the rankings will prove welcome news in the education sector. The country's standards have recently been called into question following tumbling Pisa test scores in recent years.

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Today's headlines
Swedish police search for missing elderly hikers
The only trace is currently a mobile phone found in the area and which is believed to belong to one of the men. Photo: Henrik Montgomery /TT

Police have launched an extensive search operation after two elderly hikers went missing in the Swedish mountains.

Winds leave thousands of Swedes without power
The winds are also expected to blow away the warm weather that the Swedes have been blessed with in the past few days. Photo: Peter Arwidi / TT file picture

Strong gusts, forecast to reach up to 21 metres per hour, left thousands of people without power in Sweden’s northern regions on Saturday.

Migration agency ’to get rid of LGBT experts’
Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

An internal report looking at ways to make Sweden’s Migration Agency more efficient has proposed the agency gets rid of specialists dedicated to LGBT-related issues. The move has prompted the country’s main gay rights group to see red.

Sweden's Spotify hits 39 million subscribers
Spotify is gaining listeners. Photo: Erik Mårtensson/TT

Spotify has grown by nine million paying subscribers in five months, fending off competition from rivals.

Prosecutor wants asylum stabber convicted of murder
Prosecutor Linda Wiking. Photo: Adam Ihse/TT

The man was convicted of aggravated manslaughter for stabbing a worker to death at a home for young refugees in Sweden.

Old Swedish cash worth billions still in circulation
Old Swedish money. Photo: Micke Larsson/TT

Hand in your invalid Swedish bills to the bank by the end of the month.

Sweden moves to battle high rate of drug deaths
Sweden has among Europe's highest drug-induced mortality rates. Photo: Stian Lysberg Solum/NTB/TT

Sweden has among the highest number of drug-related deaths in the EU despite its zero-tolerance policy. The government wants to find out why.

Human skeleton found on abandoned farm in Sweden
Police at the farm in Hörby. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police suspect human remains found in a well on an abandoned farm in rural Sweden belonged to a man who was murdered.

The Local List
You'll never really be Swedish without trying this weird food
Kebab pizza. It exists. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

The Local's intern Saina Behnejad on her love-hate relationship with Swedish cuisine.

Sweden's Stenson pulls out of Barclays with injured knee
Henrik Stenson at the Olympics this summer. Photo: AP Photo/Alastair Grant

Henrik Stenson's injury throws doubt on Europe's chances at next month's Ryder Cup.

Sponsored Article
Malmö to host global skateboard championship
Travel
What are Sherpas doing on Sweden's highest mountain?
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Gallery
People-watching: August 24th
The Local Voices
'I want to be a businesswoman but I don’t care about money'
Blog updates

23 August

A Summer in Sweden (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"For our first year here in Sweden we decided to have all our holidays in Sweden.…" READ »

 

22 July

After the horror, carry on regardless (Globally Local) »

"This time last week, we were just digesting the horror of the Nice killings, in which…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
The mystique of Asia - in the middle of Stockholm
National
Experts: Gothenburg grenade blast is 'part of a cycle of violence'
Sponsored Article
Why you should learn to trade (and just how easy it is)
Gallery
Property of the week: Karlsborg
National
Why Sweden could change its criticised detention laws
National
Watch this dog's reaction when she tries Swedish fermented herring
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Gallery
People-watching: August 19th-21st
Sponsored Article
'Sweden's Lauryn Hill' touches the country's musical soul
National
How to find student housing in Sweden
National
VIDEO: Swede films first Northern Lights of the season
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
Gallery
People-watching: August 17th
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Society
Swedish population nears ten million
The Local Voices
This Syrian artist found love in a Swedish library
Sponsored Article
Five easy ways to travel more often
National
Sex pigs halt traffic after laser attack on Pokémon teens. Only in Sweden.
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Gallery
Property of the week: Hammarby Sjöstad, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Society
Drunk knight detained in Stockholm
National
Can you solve this Swede's strange Star Wars mystery?
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Gallery
People-watching: August 12th-14th
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
Swedes cheer first snow of the season
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
Gallery
People-watching: August 10th
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
The Local Voices
Syrian presenter: Swedish media should make more shows in Arabic
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
Travel
Watch the meteor shower in Sweden
Lifestyle
How to survive a crayfish party
The Local Voices
Gabriel mastered Swedish and got accepted onto a medicine degree in just 7 months
3,370
jobs available