Vital Importance of Literacy
Literacy has a vast impact on society, particularly when it comes to accomplishing social equity. Only a small percentage of educated people are rich while a larger percentage of educated people are poor. Nonetheless, the latter has higher chances to improve their socio-economic status than poor and uneducated people (Mody & Lin, 2007). Within this context, literacy makes a significant difference in the lives of the poor because education enables them access to various opportunities such as jobs, social services, and continuing education. On the contrary, the poor and uneducated are isolated from these opportunities. Hence, one of the greatest benefits of literacy is that it gives way to social equity because regardless of one’s socio-economic status, literacy allows people to gain access to numerous opportunities that would ultimately facilitate upward social mobility (Mody & Lin, 2007). Furthermore, literacy empowers people, especially women who has been marginalized in society, because it allows them to become self-sufficient. Literacy also affects politics because voter literacy enables people to choose the right leaders and to influence legislation to benefit the masses (Education for All Global Monitoring Report, 2006).
Literacy is an elusive goal not only in the US but also around the world primarily because of the large population in relation to limited resources. Furthermore, the literacy rate in all countries combined is significantly high. Based on data obtained by the CIA World Factbook, 84.1 percent of the global population is illiterate (List of Countries by Literacy Rate, 2014). Considering this percentage of illiteracy, it would be an impossible feat for global leaders to develop programs, policies, and other kinds of initiatives to increase literacy rates around the world. It is a challenge that must be addressed through global collaborative efforts.
It is important to note that illiteracy results from poverty and vice versa (Mody & Lin, 2007). Hence, a possible strategy to increase literacy rates around the world is to resolve poverty. One of the measures of poverty is food security. Poor people are forced to forego education, including that of their children’s so they can work and earn income to provide for the basic needs of their families such as food, shelter and clothing. One way to do this is to provide job opportunities for people so they can earn enough to send their children to school. Another solution is to encourage students and professionals to participate in causes that would allow them to teach children from disadvantaged populations reading and writing, as in the Literacy Corps initiative implemented in the US (Burger & Kennedy, 1987). To increase access to education, political leaders should also prioritize the increase in education budget and the implementation of subsidies to make education more affordable and accessible to poor families (Wagner, 2005).
Burger, W. E. & Kennedy, E. M. (1987). American needs a literacy corps. Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/1987/07/02/opinion/america-needs-a-literacy-corps.html?scp=10&sq=&st=nyt
Education for All Global Monitoring Report. (2006). Why Literacy Matters, Chapter 5. Retrieved from: http://www.unesco.org/education/GMR2006/full/chapt5_eng.pdf
List of Countries by Literacy Rate. (2014). In Wikipedia. Retrieved June 21, 2014, from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_literacy_rate
Mody, Y. & Lin, C. [iamchichi]. 2007, April 11. Literacy Empowers (Illiteracy Awareness Documentary). [Video file]. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NfQEC029caw
Wagner, S. (2005). Venezuela: Illiteracy free territory. Retrieved from: http://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/1079