Makara is, on the world scale, a well-educated city. Almost half of the citizens are capable of reading and writing. No other city in the world can make that claim, and it certainly gives Makara something of an edge.
The many sailors, foreigners, and merchants that come into and out of this massive trade port all need some way to understand each other. While an interpreter is typically enough in most settlements, the vast scale of contracts and important documents that must be read to do business in Makara sometimes make it hards to trust an interpreter over your own ability to read.
The "City of Lawyers" has always had a need for contracts to confirm the contents of any agreement. And ever since The Algot Princes took charge this need has only intensified. No trade deal is valid unless the government maintains a copy of the agreement in their records.
The Makaran Academy has also helped improve the city's literacy. Offering workshops and open classes where individuals can learn to read and write, many of these classes are required of those who live in one of the city's many common houses.