Literacy can be described as the ability to read and write. It can generate much discussion as those people who cannot read and write may also have knowledge in other fields where reading and writing is not required. However, one can be said to be literate when has acquired the necessary knowledge and skills to enable him do his activities effectively. It is through the knowledge acquired that literacy is connected to the ability of reading and writing. For example, for one to develop his literacy skills, he needs to read more to gather knowledge. This is only possible when he can read and write his knowledge
The aim of education is the transformation of economic and social structures. Literate citizens can effectively participate in the national development. Unfortunately, education depends on political and ideological structures of a given country. It is also worth noting that the literacy programs are pegged on the ideological and political framework of country. Literacy skills should be encouraged to develop the technology of a country. The capitalists relate literacy to academics and stress on the need for academic progress. As such, literacy promotes logical ability to solve problems and critical thinking. For this reason, it is important note that commercial and financial institution to invest more on education.
Literacy therefore is the change in one’s ability to contextualize events and settings. In Namibia, Brian often witnessed ‘periferal’ participation in learning. This character and behavior was evidenced by the fact that even invoice had to signed. It could only be possible if one is literate. Literacy in itself is a vital tool in accessing resources (pg176). In many situations, it was almost impossible to get whatever you want without knowledge of reading and writing. It therefore put some people to be more powerful in literacy events than others. In Namibia, it was possible for tourists to be more powerful than the locals because of literacy prowess. In fact, Brian, in his book says ‘everything is in English, banks loan and invoices.’ Even shopping without literally carrying liquid cash needed literacy (pg 63).
Brian observes that the local guides in Namibia had the experience in their duties but could not use their skills do constructive work. Their level of literacy did not expose them to critical thinking that can be transformed into development ideas (pg161). The consultants in most municipalities had problems presenting their ideas and writing repots. Foreign donors resorted to guessing what the consultant could have meant (pg 161). This is an example of the effects of lack of literacy.
Brian says he believes learning should be a social and cultural process. He thinks of the people who are directly or indirectly involved in learning. The learning structure is very important in the acquisition of literacy. The everyday experiences and interaction with one another play very important role in learning (pg 168). For example, Simon, a guide, was not able read and write. However, because of exposure, he could speak, in German, English and Afrikaans. This was possible because he was interested in learning.
There traditional religious literacy like ‘maktab’ encourages learning through reciting the ‘Koran’. They may not contextualize the words they recite in new contexts. They easily recognize the layout of the book and pages as they are in the ‘Koran’. Unlike Latin students who are exposed to set books, ‘maktab’ literacy is a free and non- restricted literacy. Latin students are exposed to maximum literacy skills from books and other learning materials. They perceive also literacy through modern education system commercial activities.
In conclusion, literacy should expose people to different ideas and cultural differences. It should prepare one to face life realities and challenges as they come. As noticed in Mainstream children, they are exposed to different books at a tender age and this can made them appear more literate than the Roadville children.
Street, B. (1984). Literacy in Theory and Practice.U.S.A: Cambridge University Press, 1984. P, 122.Print.