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Suggested Literacy and Numeracy Skills Levels for Africa

To be able to upskill  Africans, policy makers and educators will need to establish their literacy and numeracy levels. This is common practice all over the world and is used to determine a person’s suitability for a course or skills training. One body that has worked on establishing levels is the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED), which designed a framework to classify educational activities. Borrowing from their classification, I recommend that Africa focuses in the first instance on the ISCED attainment levels: 
  • 0 — Pre-primary education
  • 1 — Primary Education
  • 2 — Lower Secondary Education
At Level 1, a learner will be expected to:
  • write a message for someone
  • read and follow simple instructions
  • read and write whole numbers
  • use a calculator to add, subtract, multiply and divide
  • perform a basic internet search with a phone, tablet or computer
At Level 2, a learner will be expected to:
  • write straightforward emails and letters
  • complete a form
  • read and understand short reports
  • work out fractions, decimals and percentages
  • understand a payslip
  • understand graphs and charts
  • manage time effectively
  • produce a word document, save to a file, send an e-mail.
The minimum level that African countries should strive for to be able to properly function should be the Level 2. The African Virtual School has designed a simple test to establish the level of a person based on the ISCED attainment levels for numeracy and is available now.


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