Is illiteracy really a biggest social problem of any society?

Spring 2014
Generally illiteracy is defined as unable to read or write. According to one survey “more than 796 million people in the world cannot read and write and about 67 million children do not have access to primary school education” (Cree at el). Furthermore, many people claim that illiteracy leads to many problems, such as, illiterate people can’t vote to deserve person, they can’t read names of items and there cost on menu in restaurants, they can’t help their children with homework, they can’t read prescription on medicine, etc (Kozol). Now the main concern is that, is illiteracy really a biggest social problem? As we know, each society is considerably different from other society and it is not necessary that illiteracy can be biggest problem in every society. For example, let’s discuss Mr. Jim Henry’s tale about one of the Africa village where he and his few friends were trying to build a school to educate people of that village. Mr. Henry is teacher at Asian University for Women in Bangladesh. According to Mr. Henry the economic condition of that village is miserable and people are dying due to lack of facilities, such as, they don’t have access to market, they don’t have any job opportunities, and even they don’t have a bridge to cross the river. Mr. Henry believes that though education is important for everyone but right now those people need other things more than education.
Here I agree with Mr. Henry because in that society poverty is the biggest problem rather than illiteracy. If people don’t have food to eat, they don’t have any job opportunities and they don’t have access to any higher education than what is benefit of only able to read and write. I agree that education is very important tool to get progress in any society if you have access to certain opportunities. For example, if you are living in developed or in any developing country where you can get a job and you can utilize your education to get benefit and to give benefit to your society then education is the best way to achieve success. On the other hand, if you are dying due to starvation obviously your first priority will be food and then you will think about other necessities including education.
Therefore, I would like to say that it depends on situations and needs of society that what is the most important thing for any society. Moreover, we have to accept the fact that every society has its own priorities and necessities. As a result, we can’t make a general statement that illiteracy is the biggest problem rather we should say that now-a-days illiteracy is one of the main problems of most societies. Finally, I think that a starving person will prefer a piece of bread over learning how to write his or her name.

Works Cited
Cree, Dr. Anthony, Andrew Kay, and June Steward. ““The Economic & Social Cost of Illiteracy: A Snapshot of Illiteracy in a Global Context”.” THE ECONOMIC & SOCIAL COST OF ILLITERACY. World Literacy Foundation, Apr. 2012. Web. 22 Jan. 2014. .
Kozol, Jonathon. ““The Human Cost of an Illiterate Society”.” Illiterate America. Garden City: Anchor, 1985. Web. 24 Jan. 2014.


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