All the literates certainly know that literacy is a very important aspect of human life. It denotes a certain basic level of knowledge with potential for acquiring more knowledge for the general benefit to human kind. It does not mean that someone who is illiterate is not knowledgeable. Often times, the so called illiterates tend to have more practical knowledge than their literate counterparts in certain areas of human endeavor.
Worldwide there has been progress in the literacy rates. Take the example of India which had negligible literacy rate at the time of British withdrawal of their illegal occupation of the Indian sub-continent in the late 1940s. The Indian literacy rate is now deemed to be around 75% although a recent report published in Times of India emphasizes that despite the increase in the rate, there are far more illiterates than literates when compared to the decade of 2000 to the current year. Of course, one must look at this discrepancy from the stand point of India’s enormous population which is touted to overtake that of China’s not far from now.
It is a shame that countries that have enormous resources and a very knowledgeable education base cannot bring up the literacy rates to near 100%. The state of Kerala in India has achieved that. Why not the rest of the country and other countries as well?
A factor that for centuries thwarted the growth of literacy among certain countries’ populace is simply this. Child labor either through family “enterprise” or other small businesses. It is good to see that is changing with the introduction of strong child labor laws but there is a long way to go.