By Tiya Parmar
Poverty, unemployment, development, food and water scarcity are
some of the biggest challenges that any country faces. And whenever I
have tried to think of a solution for any of these issues, I always come
back to one thing- literacy. For example, a family can afford a proper
diet when they are capable of upgrading their living conditions; they
can do so only when they get money; they can get money by getting a
job; and they can get a job by acquiring the necessary skills, which can
be achieved by educating themselves. Thus, in this way many things
depend on a strong foundation of education and literacy.
However, we often confuse between the two. We consider a literate
person as educated, and an illiterate person as uneducated. This
classification is wrong and can be damaging for a lot of reasons.
The dictionary cites literacy as the ability to read and write in any
language. It strives to make one more aware of the world around us by
providing the means to read news and important documents, to write
letters and emails. It gives us the proud feeling of seeing our own
signature on documents instead of a thumb print. While it is important
for us to be informed, so as to avoid frauds and scams, literacy doesn’t
necessarily make us better people.
So many people who know that littering is wrong, still do it. Even I am
guilty of that crime. So many smoke cigarettes, knowing that it could kill
them, break traffic rules, bully and disrespect other people…We
shouldn’t have the right to call ourselves educated. We read, we are
informed citizens and yet, it doesn’t make us good citizens.
An educated person is supposed to be rational, they should know how
and when to apply the knowledge they’ve attained, and recognize the
importance of experience and skills. Education isn’t just about an ability
to do something, it is about the willingness to know and do the right
Literacy was important at a time when most people didn’t know how to
read and write and depended on other people to communicate
something for them. It made cheating and scamming easier, as they
would have to believe what the other person had said. Today, over two
thirds of our population is literate, and though it is important for that
number to be a 100%, it is even more vital for us to be educated.
Quite a lot of schools have recognized this need and give students
many opportunities to develop a well-rounded personality through
community projects, leadership positions, internships, etc. The world,
today, needs both, literate and educated citizens.