Literacy Rate Illiterate Population
87.4 % 1.8 million
source :  2000 figures estimated by UNESCO Institute for Statistics, July 2002

National Literacy Goals
YEAR 2005 2010 2015
Total adult literacy rate (%) 96 100 100
Female adult literacy rate (%) ... 100 100
Male adult literacy rate (%) ... 100 100

Definition of a Literate Person

One who has reading ability or can read,
One who has formal education and at least some form of informal education.
Name of National Literacy Agency

Specific organizations among the main Government agencies involved are:
Ministry of Education,
Ministry of Rural Development,
Ministry of Human Resources,
Ministry of Youth and Sports, and
Ministry of Entrepreneurship.
"Literacy Facts and Figures" of Malaysia
Structure of National Literacy Agency
According to the Ministry concerned.

Number of NGOs working in the field of literacy 314 functional literacy groups/classes in year 1999.
Number of literacy classes in most recent year 279 classes with 6,334 participants in the year 2000.
Number of classroom hours designated to achieve basic literacy Varies. According to the Ministry concerned. No ready data available.

National Policies and Strategies
National Policies on Literacy / Non-formal Education in Latest Policy Document on Education
1. Since 1961, the Community Development Division (KEMAS) of the Ministry of Rural Development (MORD) was entrusted to eradicate illiteracy among adults in Peninsular Malaysia. In 1963, this function was extended to Sabah and Sarawak.
2. Today more than 93% of Malaysia's people are literate. Even though the illiteracy rate is low, there is still a need to formulate and implement life long education programmes. Amongst the initiatives undertaken by MORD in addressing illiteracy are:
the Harmonious Family Education Program,
Religious Education Program, Skill Training Program,
Community Resource Center and Reading Program,
Functional Literacy Program,
Preschool Program,
Community Work Program and Community Activity Center.
Through these programs, adult learners are able to gain knowledge and skills to enable them to be a literate productive citizen.
Current Literacy / Non-formal Education Objectives /Strategies
1. The objectives of the programmes for adults and youths aged 15 years and above, school-dropouts and squatter communities are:
to eradicate illiteracy among adults and youths aged 15 years and above.
to provide participants with knowledge and skills useful in their daily life.
to help participants overcome social problems that hinder the development of the community.
to inculcate the spirit of unity and love for the nation, people and religion.
to provide guidance and encouragement to enable participants to develop the concept of self-advancement.

The literacy and non-formal education programmes undertaken by MORD focuses on teaching and learning in groups and classes held in places and times convenient to the participants. Participants in a class or group may not be fewer than fifteen. The curriculum of this activity covers reading, writing and arithmetic, and aspects of family life, health, economy, civic duty and religion. All teaching, learning and training activities are carried out in a manner suitable to the particular location.

3. Income-Generating and Vocational Activities: The purpose of this project is to improve the income of the rural community through skills upgrading, so that rural communities will be involved actively in income-generating programmes that could improve their quality of life. Projects undertaken include farming, crop cultivation, handicraft, metalwork and pandan and mengkuang weaving. In 1999 and 2000, the participants undertook a total of 115 projects.
4. Learning materials: In order to ensure that literates do not relapse into illiteracy, the MORD provides, on a loan basis, reading and learning materials such as books, audio tapes, posters and educational games for the rural communities.
Lessons Learned from Past Literacy Programmes and Activities

[Updated in April 2003]

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