Education plays a fundamental role in human, social and economic development is essential to a healthy and self-determined life. In 1948 education was set as a basic human right for every person and enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This enforced the fact that every single person deserves the right to receive an education.
Over 60 years later this has still not become a reality, although world leaders have made several promises relating to education at the time. A literate community is a dynamic community, one that exchanges ideas and engages them in debate. Illiteracy, however, is an obstacle to a better quality of life, and can even breed exclusion and violence. Education is the key to eradicating poverty, improving health and life expectancy, achieving gender equality and ensuring sustainable peace, democracy and development throughout the world.
Definition of Key Terms
By Education we mean a form of learning in which the knowledge, skills, and habits are transferred from one generation to the next through teaching, training, or research.
Literacy rate - the condition or quality of being literate, especially the ability to read and write.
Least Developed Countries (LDCs): less developed countries or developing countries are countries with low living standards, underdeveloped industries and a low Human Right Index in comparison with other countries. Many of these countries are located in Africa. This is also shown in the picture showed on the next page, Africa has the lowest literacy rate.
UNESCO - United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization. In 1945, UNESCO was created in order to respond to the firm belief of nations, forged by two world wars in less than a generation that political and economic agreements are not enough to build a lasting peace.
The number of illiterate individuals has dropped significantly across the last few decades. But the numbers have not fallen in every region. The majority of women in West and South Asia as well as in Sub-Saharan Africa cannot read and write. Seventy-two percent of illiterate people over the age of 15 live in just 10 of the world's countries. The youth literacy rates in South America and Europe are among the highest with 90-100 percent literacy. The African continent, however, has areas with less than 50 percent literacy among children ages 18 and under. Literacy rates in South Africa continue to be lower than optimal.
Literacy is at the heart of education, and is a basic human right that we all deserve. It empowers individuals, families and communities and improves their quality of life, as well. Because of its “multiplier effect”, literacy helps eradicate poverty, reduce child mortality, curb population growth, achieve gender equality and ensure sustainable development, peace and democracy, as it was previously mentioned in introduction .Everyone needs the opportunity to receive a quality education, yet despite this, about 60 million primary aged children are not attending school, and 796 million adults cannot read or write. As of 2012, 31 million primary-school pupils worldwide dropped out of school. An additional 32 million repeated a grade. In developing, low-income countries, every additional year of education can increase a person’s future income by an average of 10 percent.
One of the basic causes of illiteracy is the lack of money to fund education. Although up to 20% of the nation's budget is spent on educational programs, resources are not yet sufficient to counteract decades of insufficient teacher training, lack of supplementary materials in indigenous African languages and the absence of access to books - all key factors for low literacy rates. Another problem in receiving education is gender inequality. Nearly two thirds of the world’s illiterate adults are woman. 36 countries have not achieved gender parity in primary education. In many countries women and girls are the last to get the opportunity to learn. Educating women and girls is acknowledged as the most influential and effective way to combat global poverty.
However the crisis in global education has been slowly improving over the last decade. School fees in many countries have been dropped, allowing some of the world’s poorest children to attend schools.
Almost 50 million more children have been given the opportunity to attend school in the last ten years. More girls are accessing school, and the gender gap is closing.
Several counties have completely abolished school fees which have led to a dramatic increase in school enrolments. Despite these achievements, overall progress in tackling global illiteracy has been far too slow. Much more needs to be done.
Major Parties Involved
LDCs, these are of course the main subject. The governments of these states will have to cooperate in order to achieve something. They should make providing at least basic education a high priority on their to-do list, because of the effects mentioned in the general overview.
NGOs, many NGOs have dedicated themselves to increasing the standards of education worldwide. These NGOs play a major role in the development and improving the education in LDCs. Industrialized countries, they also play a crucial role in this poser. They should be ready to help LDCs with money and labor force. Moreover they have to exchange experience and ideas.
Possible solutions for this issue are, as always, difficult. Various parties need to contribute in order to reach our goal. Working together is our best chance of exploring and developing solutions that will transform the lives of millions. Billons of dollars are needed. School fees must be eliminated, particularly for low income earners. More teachers and volunteers need to be trained and effectively retrained, to motivate those in the profession. Conquering the global literacy crisis and improving education are not easy tasks, but that doesn’t mean that it cannot happen.