Reading the past, writing the future this World Literacy Day
We shall yet again discuss some statistics and the scope of development in the education field around the world and celebrate the minor changes that have impacted the society. Now, I’m not trying to mock this day, but I’m stating a fact that everyone thinks and doesn’t say out loud. Although we cannot brush past the tremendous efforts that some of the organisations of the world are making to reach the goal of educating every man, woman, and child around the globe.
UNESCO Director-General sends a message to the world on this occasion of 50th anniversary of World Literacy Day, and he says,
“The world has changed since 1966 – but our determination to provide every woman and man with the skills, capacities and opportunities to become everything they wish, in dignity and respect, remains as firm as ever. Literacy is a foundation to build a more sustainable future for all.”
Before we move on further, what do the statistics say?
- 758 million adults 15 years and older who still cannot read or write a simple sentence
- Roughly two third of them are females
- In South and West Asia, youth literacy rate is 84 percent
- Of the global illiterate population, 114 million are 15 to 24 years, 509 million are 25 to 64 years, and 135 million are 65 years and older
source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics
Forest Whitaker, Actor and UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation also has a message on power of education.
Educationist, Jayshree Misra Tripathi says, “India Female Literacy ranks at position of 123 out of 135 and we have an estimated 60, 0000 (60 lakhs) children out-of-school. An educated parent will ensure the education of his or her children and this fact must be underscored. A literate mother will be able to take part in her child’s learning process.”
An estimated 92% of government schools are yet to implement the policies of the Right To Education Act that came into force on April 1st 2010.
While poverty is a reason for why people cannot even afford education in India, another main hurdle that comes in the way of education is social negligence. This negligence is mostly towards girls and women. In village communities, girls are only expected to stay indoors and do only household chores. Gender bias has taken a toll on the education policies in India and turning that around is no joke. A society cannot change with some literacy programs that run for a few weeks and hope for change, it cannot even change with few rounds of intensive discussion with the communities that do not allow girls to get educated. These norms and, rules I’d call them, have been so ingrained in the society for centuries that even women think they need validation from their family and the society when they step out of their homes to get education.
Many don’t realise that education gives these girls and women better financial opportunities also which will be beneficial for the whole family. Instead, they fear empowerment will only lead to the doomsday of disrespect when women will speak amongst the men.
India still has a long way to achieving the goal of hundred percent literacy, but government too is doing their bit to catalyst this change. Case in point the beti padhao, beti bachao scheme. In the coming years, the numbers will hopefully change, and all we can hope for is that is happens quickly.
Feature Image Courtesy: askideas.com