A basic reading and writing ability could be regarded as a basic human right, as it’s so vital to how we function in society as a whole. With an increasing emphasis on technology, which has become more affordable, literacy’ is more significant than it ever was for anyone wishing to keep pace with the modern world.
Africa and, in particular, Sub-Saharan Africa, maintains the highest rate of illiteracy. The cause of numerous issues in developing countries is down to a lack of education. These problems are magnified when people from those countries are unable to keep up with the rest of the world.
The numbers don’t lie
UNESCO reported in 2012 that illiteracy was around 84.3 per cent for adults and 89.4 per cent for children. Those numbers may sound high but we’re talking about the average on a global scale. Literacy in numerous Sub-Saharan African countries still falls under 60 per cent. That equates to less less than half of the people from those countries having the ability to read and write.Again, these are simply the average numbers and, thankfully, there are a number of developing countries performing very well, with over 95 per cent literacy. Unfortunately, however, it means that there are other countries that are performing very poorly, such as in Niger, with just 15 per cent literacy. Another important factor is the difference in literacy levels between genders. Around 68 per cent of men in Sub-Saharan Africa have the ability to read and write, compared to just 51 per cent of women.
Why something needs to be done about it
Education is the beginning of development and the ability to read and write is the key to unlocking education. Almost everything we use and almost everything we do requires the ability to read. With a smartphone in our hands, we have access to all the information we could ever need. With the World Wide Web, our collective know-how is accessible from anywhere and at any time. The only other requirement in being able to assimilate that information is the ability to read.In addition to the clear benefits, there are further advantages to literacy. Women who have been educated tend to rear fewer children, which is a plus point in a developing country with little by way of resources to raise them. They also look after them better due to having more knowledge of hygiene etc. There is a link between child mortality and literacy. The numbers for child mortality are down when the numbers for literacy go in the opposite direction.
Literate women with children are also more likely to send them to school, simply because they understand the importance of formal education and how it can help shape their children’s future. When children advance in their education, such as attending high school, for example, their parents will continue to encourage them to keep aiming higher. In that way, every generation will continue to be more educated than the last, offering enhanced opportunities in the process, and increasing their chances for a better career and better health.