i. “Illiteracy- The inability to read and write a simple message in any language” ) Let’s first analyze this definition closely. An illiterate person is like a handicapped person who is unfamiliar with the happenings in his surroundings, cant even drive because of his lack of ability to understand the basic symbols and traffic signs, cant read menus and the list goes on. It’s like you can’t be independent.
ii. Due to the lack of the ability to read the newspaper, many people remain unaware about the inside story of different elected parties and they take the wrong decisions while casting their votes (in case of democratic countries), which leads to bad governance and problems like unemployment, poverty, etc never taking a back seat. To liberate ourselves from the shackles of ignorance, poverty etc, we need to get out of this vicious circle.
iii. The illiteracy rates vary from region to region depending on the factors like wealth and urbanization. One common thing to be pointed out in the countries with high illiteracy rates is the social custom which curbs the education of females. The main reason I find behind the progress of developed countries is their high literacy rates. This is because high literacy rates mean more knowledgeable and skilled people in the country (what we call human capital). Literate people can understand and learn the things more easily, so they enjoy a higher socio-economic status as well as catalyze the development of the country as a whole.
Governments and other stakeholders are increasingly interested in assessing the skills of their adult populations in order to monitor how well prepared they are for the challenges of the modern knowledge-based society. Adults are expected to use information in complex ways and to maintain and enhance their literacy skills to adopt to ever changing technologies. Literacy is important not only for personal development, but also for positive educational, social and economic outcomes.
v. On an international level, there are three adult literacy surveys, the Adult Literacy and Lifeskills Survey (ALL), the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS), and the OECD’s Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) which is currently in progress. Data from ALL and IALS reveal that low skills are found in countries and that these low skills pose problems for individuals trying to cope with work and life in modern societies where the demands for literacy skills are on the increase.
vi. The Adult Education and Family Literacy Act was developed through Title II, The Workforce Investment Act of 1998, Public Law 105-220. The primary purpose of the Act is to create a partnership among the federal, state, and local levels to provide, on a voluntary basis, adult education and literacy services in order to: assist adults to become literate and obtain the knowledge and skills necessary for employment and self-sufficiency; assist adults who are parents to obtain the educational skills necessary to become full partners in the educational development of their children;