Thursday, 29 September, 2022

Awareness Is Essential to Eradicate Illiteracy

Alok Acharja

We have six basic needs, and education is one of them. Literacy is the first step in building an educated nation. The word ‘literacy’ means the ability to read and write and its circumference is increasing day by day. The literacy rate is one of the most vital issues for a country. A country’s development is directly linked with this. It has a big role in the progress of the country. Literacy is closely linked with quality education. It has been noticed that the higher the literacy rate in a country, the more developed it is. Literacy is the formal beginning of the acquisition of knowledge. Nowadays, along with education, higher education and skill development are closely linked with. We need to achieve this in order to keep pace with the developed world.

At present, the literacy rate is 74.66% in Bangladesh. Among all divisions, the literacy rate in Dhaka is about 79 per cent, which is more than in other divisions. The coronavirus pandemic has had an adverse effect on literacy activities. Along with literacy, increasing the rate of education is also important. Education is usually acquired in two ways formal and informal. Those who are deprived of formal education gain literacy through informal education. At present, our goal is not just to increase literacy. Increasing the rate of education means ensuring quality education. The formation of a hundred per cent educated nation is very important in achieving sustainable development goals. Achieving one’s signature efficiency alone will not make our desired achievement possible.

Reviewing the current situation, it is clear that we have to overcome a long distance today. In the geographical range of Bangladesh, the word 'literacy' was first used in 1901. In the 1940s, only reading skills were called literacy. Next, in the 60s, only those who were qualified to read and write were considered to be literate. In the ’80s, literacy skills were considered as the ability to read with calculation as well as awareness and the ability to read visual material. At present, in addition to these skills, communication skills, empowerment skills, and execution of life skills are also included. The definition of the word literacy is going to change with time. Such changes will continue to make in the future as well.

The Basic Literacy Project (64 districts) was launched in 2014 to provide literacy to the illiterate.  Many people all over the world still do not receive any education. Many people cannot even write their identities. At present, it is emphasised the acquisition of reading skills in primary school completely. Education is a fundamental right of humans but some unfortunate people are still out of proper educational opportunities for various social obstacles. UNESCO has declared September 6 as International Literacy Day. 

Education or literacy rate is not a stable factor. This is an ongoing process. So, it is a complicated task to calculate with absolute certainty. We hope that this literacy rate will one day reach to hundred percent like in the developed world. It will be achieved very soon. Countries around the world spend a large portion of their budgets on education. Rapid development is possible with an educated nation. In other words, there is no alternative to building an educated nation to accelerate the pace of development.  On the other hand, it is not possible to go far with an uneducated nation.

This day has been introduced with the goal of creating awareness among the people about one of the basic rights of humans. Since we are still lagging behind, we have to work hard to achieve full success in eradicating illiteracy from society. Literacy and development are interdependent. Literacy is the main driving force in building a sustainable economy. The curse of illiteracy is an obstacle to the development of any country. Our country is slowly getting rid of that curse. We have not yet achieved our ultimate goal.

We want to build a self-dependent Bangladesh. Everyone must come forward to achieve that target. Literacy is the initial step to quality education. That is why the dropout rate of students should come down to zero. Education must be ensured for all. There is no alternative to education for all to take the country forward.  Every citizen must be developed as a good citizen and self-sufficient. We must get rid of the curse of illiteracy. Awareness at every level of society is essential to get rid of this curse.


The writer is a teacher from Bera, Pabna