Reading is Fundamental. Thus reads an ad by an anti-illiteracy advocate group. Yet many children and adults through-out the world are unable to read that particular message due to functional illiteracy. Functional illiteracy refers to the inability of a person to use his skills in reading, writing and counting to improve his life.
The latest figures by the UNESCO institute of statistics have it at 504 million illiterates in Asia Pacific. In the Philippines alone according to the Functional Literacy Education and Mass Media Survey (FLEMMS) about 2.8 million Filipinos could not read and write while 7.4 million others are functionally illiterate. It’s as if illiteracy is the neglected enemy in public service. So who pays when Juan can’t read? It is society itself.
What contributes to this social problem that many are faced with? Illiteracy is not caused by a lack of intelligence. It is often a result of outside factors such as poverty, lack of literacy within the family and learning disabilities. Problems, I believe, that can be addressed through collective effort. What’s important is to have people understand that if we all shared our own little way of helping others, many can improve their way of life.
Here are some ways that we can help in our communities with the problem of illiteracy:
1. Be tolerant for those who can’t read or write
2. Become a volunteer
3. Be a model for younger children
4.Donate funds for scholarships
5. Donate reading and learning materials
6. Become literate yourself