The prestigious title had been taken over by Tunisia who, however, speak French and not English as their major language.
“The latest results from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for 2011 show that we are now number one once again in Africa beating Tunisia,” said Professor Christopher Chetsanga in Harare.
Chetsanga is a consultant for the UNDP especially on issues dealing with science. He is also Chairman of the Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education (Zimche) which controls all institutions of higher learning in Zimbabwe.
“Zimbabwe had a literacy rate of 91.2 percent and was closely followed by Tunisia which stood at 90 percent,” Chetsanga said. “This means that we are now Africa’s best read nation and we should be proud of ourselves ladies and gentlemen. And this is despite the bad things that are being regularly said about our education system and that standards are falling. They are not.”
He said Kenya had a 73 percent literacy rate, while Nigeria stood at 72 percent in the literacy rate survey.
Ghana stood at 65 percent, Senegal at 36 percent and Mali at a paltry 26 percent. “This is no mean achievement,” Chetsanga said.
“With more fund raising from the private sector we can get even better. This achievement is smoothing the path for Zimbabweans to enter into the global society.”
Zimbabwe has had a very good education system but reports that rowdy Zanu (PF) youths were forcing student s to donate US$1 each for President Robert Mugabe’s birthday bash threatened to derail this major feat.
The rowdy youths also told headmasters that three days should be set aside for teaching school subjects and the other two days for teaching Zanu PF propaganda and liberation stories.
Analysts told Radio VOP that this move by the youths threatened to “derail the country’s impressive education system” especially now that we have the best literacy rate in Africa as judged by the UNDP.