Literacy of Men and Women in the Philippines (Results from the 2008 Functional Literacy, Education and Mass Media Survey)

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Basic literacy rate is high for both malesFigure 1 and females

Basic literacy is almost universal in the Philippines. Of the estimated 68 million Filipinos 10 years old and over in 2008, 95.6 percent are basically literate. The basic literacy rate is 96.1 percent among females and 95.1 percent among males. By region, basic literacy rates are about the same for males and females.

Functional literacy rate among females is higher than among males

The 2008 FLEMMS results also show that the functional literacy rate among females is higher than among males. Overall, functional literacy rate is 88.7 percent for females and 84.2 percent for males. Among the 15 to 24 age group, 94.0 percent of females as compared to 88.7 percent of males are functionally literate. Meanwhile, 87.6 percent of females and 84.1 percent of males in the 25 to 64 age group are functionally literate. In four regions, namely, Eastern Visayas, Western Visayas, Bicol, and Caraga female functional literacy rates are at least eight percentage points higher than male functional literacy rates.

Literacy Rate


Functional literacy rate is generally Figure 2 high for males and females exposed to mass media

Functional literacy rate is also generally high among men and women exposed to different forms of mass media. Among men, functional literacy rate ranges from 93.0 percent for those who watched television to 95.5 percent for those who surfed the internet. Among women, it ranges from 94.7 percent for those who watched television to 97.0 percent for those who surfed the internet.





The 2008 Functional Literacy, Education and Mass Media Survey (FLEMMS) is a national survey that gathers information on basic and functional literacy status of the population, the educational skills qualifications, and exposure of the population to mass media. It is the fourth in a series of functional literacy surveys conducted by the National Statistics Office (NSO). The three previous rounds were conducted in 1989, 1994, and 2003. The survey is conducted in order to obtain data that will be used as basis of educational policies and programs that will improve the coverage and quality of education in the country. Specifically, the survey seeks to:

  • estimate the proportion of the population 10 years old and over who are basically literate, and proportion of the
  • population aged 10 to 64 years who are functionally literate;
  • determine the educational skills qualifications of the population in terms of formal schooling; and
  • determine the mass media exposure of the basically and functionally literate/illiterate population.

The survey was designed to provide data representative of the country and its 17 administrative regions. The 2008 FLEMMS was conducted by the NSO in coordination with the Literacy Coordinating Council (LCC) and the Department of Education (DepEd).

Basic literacy or simple literacy refers to the ability of a person to read and write with understanding a simple message in language or dialect. In this survey, basic literacy status of an individual was determined based on the respondents answer to the question “Can ____ read and write a simple message in any language or dialect?”

Functionally literate refers to a person who can read, write and compute or one who can read, write, compute and comprehend.



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