Counting for what you really mean

The National Statistics Office in its publication, Philippine Figures in 2011, reports that functional literacy in 2008 among males is 84.2% and 88.7% among females. My knee jerk reaction was, wow. When the emotion has dissipated, I wondered about the parameters and tools NSO used to make the evaluation, because apart from wanting to know how Filipinos are specifically measured in this aspect I thought it odd that if national figures for functional literacy are these high how come we’re not leapfrogging into China-like progress? And then I came to the footnote, which says ‘functional literacy’ (for purposes of the census survey and reporting) is “basic reading, writing, and numeracy skills.” Huh?

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