International Review of Education

, Volume 43, Issue 5–6, pp 595–609 | Cite as

Problems of Illiteracy in a Literate Developing Society: Sri Lanka

  • Chandra Gunawardena


With 87.0% of its population literate, Sri Lanka occupies a high ranking position among South and South-East Asian nations in educational development. The high percentage of literacy achieved through progressive measures in education spanning half a century, however, has led to a state of complacency and less priority being given to efforts at eradicating illiteracy. This paper will focus on a recent study conducted on the incidence of illiteracy in specific disadvantaged communities in the country which indicated that in the present era of technological advancement, lack of literacy will continue to affect the life-chances of people in these communities where the rate of literacy remains much lower than the national average. The study investigates into the factors associated with illiteracy, and the attitudes and perceptions of the communities themselves towards literacy programmes and regarding the modalities and strategies of providing literacy. The implications of the study and the final recommendations drawn up in consultation with the policy makers at national and provincial levels in governmental and non-governmental sectors are also discussed in the paper.


Policy Maker National Average Technological Advancement Provincial Level Educational Development 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chandra Gunawardena
    • 1
  1. 1.Open University of Sri LankaNawala, NugegodaSri Lanka

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