The following post will be a bit different from what we usually write about. Today is the International Literacy Day and we decided to join this cause as many others have in order to create awareness of this issue that still exists in this modern world. The objective of this day is to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies.
Despite the efforts and varied efforts of different organizations, literacy still exists up to this day. One of the organizations that has been working on this issue, and trying to make a difference in the illiterate world is UNESCO. Here are some facts about this problem that we found on the UNESCO website.
- 776 million adults lack minimum literacy skills
- 1 out of 5 adults is still not literate and 2/3 are women.
- 75 million children are out of school and many more attend irregularly or drop out.
Literacy is considered to be a human right, vital to everyone because it allows social and human development, it is essential in fighting poverty, curbing population growth, achieving gender equality, peace, among other things.
Even though it seems that this article is not directly about learning languages, it is related with our sites purpose. For a person to fully learn his or her language, it is important that they know how to read and write. Communication is not only verbal, also there is non-verbal communication and written communication. People that are illiterate are at a disadvantage because they don’t have all of the information available that you and I have, just by knowing how to read, they can’t fully communicate. Literacy is part of life, and everyone deserves to have the opportunity to enjoy this human right.
The current challenges of the problem as described by UNESCO are the following:
- Too many literacy programmes have taught literacy for its own sake – learners become discourages and wonder why they should go on. It is important to link literacy with other development action, such as health, education running businesses, cultural development. The purpose of learning literacy should be clear.
- Programs should be flexible and designed with lots of local inputs. Standardized programmes will not do the job.
- People learn to read and write best in their own language, before learning to do so in other languages. For many minority languages, the challenge is to produce a usable alphabet and interesting literature, but there are ways to do this that are affordable.
- There is a need for research to find innovative and appropriate literacy methods. We also need to investigate what works and find out where these lessons can be applied.
- The figures on adult literacy are unreliable and often represent estimates and guesses. We need better ways of measuring progress in literacy.
If you want to know more about this problem, and want to help in some way you can visit the webpage or contact UNESCO, which has been working on this issue for several decades.