Literacy Vs Illiteracy Essay

It is fact that more and more people in the world today do not want to give lace to illiteracy in their lives. They are, therefore making, every effort to use any means by which they could become literate. They know that it is reading that makes a man. Stakeholders in the book production and distribution know that people hunger after books which they can read and become enlightened. Therefore, prolific writers spend hours at their desk churning out manuscripts which they hand over to printers who eagerly wait to be hired. The printers spend days and sleepless night at their machines in order to get the books printed and published.

Publishers, bookshops and booksellers do all they can to get book for the reading public, they know that a book, like any other economic product or services, does not fulfill its purpose until it reaches the consumer. Published books get to the reader through various means- the major ones being the booksellers. They play the most significant role in book production and distribution.

For instance, constant availability of books for purchase is one of the most important keys to the expansion of the industry. It is the book shop and booksellers who ensure this by providing ready outlets for books. The sale of books is very serious business and many hands are required to make it succeed. Booksellers actively participate in this by giving out complimentary copies of books to generate interest in them. They retail books to prospective readers who may be spread over a wide geographical area.

Booksellers are without doubt, a vital link between publishers and readers. Indeed, publisher do not only serve them as informal channels for marketing their books but also for marketing research to gather data on pricing, writing quality and production specification. In effect, booksellers collect vital and relevant data on the books they sell from readers and relay to the publishers.

Unfortunately in Ghana, there are few book distribution outlets; the majority of them concentrate in Accra and few regional capitals. This makes the services of itinerate booksellers vital in book trade. These mobile vendors make books accessible to people in the rural and economically disadvantaged communities. They exploit the opportunities offered by weekly market days observed by many communities to exhibit, and sell their books. They tend to concentrate on children's books supplementary readers, primers, textbooks, second hand books, revision notes, and comic pamphlets. In other words, a single itinerant seller is a complete bookshop on wheels.

However, these books tend to do some disservice to the industry. A cursory study of their contents shows lack of professionalism in the writing and production of them. There are several infractions - grammatical errors, factual inaccuracies, typographical mistakes, poor cover design and so on. In spite of these, they have a very high patronage. This is because the books are lowly priced and therefore affordable in the market.

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The Problem of Illiteracy

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What exactly is illiteracy? Illiteracy is defined in the Webster’s dictionary as: 1) not educated; especially, not knowing how to read or write. 2) showing a lack of education --noun. a person who does not know how to read or write -- illiteracy. May-be someone can read just a little, some can make out the sounds of a word and some just cannot read at all. Illiteracy is a “loss” to those who cannot read or write. The impact of illiteracy is devastating. This problem causes other problems as listed below.

· Loss of job opportunities in the market place

· Without a job people must rely on
          - Unemployment
          - Social Assistance to survive, Welfare, Medicare

· The illiterate does not have the reading and writing skills to reinforce these skills in their children.
          - The illiterate cycle begins here!

· Illiteracy promotes high level of criminal behavior.
- Example: Correctional facilities have an average of Grade Three reading level.

Not only does the definition of illiteracy mean “loss” but to me it’s the root of poverty, crime and lost productivity in our cities.

     Now that I have defined illiteracy, I want to raise the awareness of this problem, how it relates to women and propose a policy to help solve the problem. Illiteracy exists in America and in all nations all over the world, and the percentages of illiterate women are much higher than illiterate men. Many people assume that illiterate Americans are concentrated in large cities with troubled schools. Although this may be true in some cases, there are rural areas where illiterate women are overlooked.

     According to the most recent statistics in the World Education Report, a study released last year by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, almost one-quarter of the world’s population, or 905 million individuals between 15 years of age and adulthood cannot read. Women account for 65 percent of the globe’s illiterate population. That’s more than half! Many women become and are dependent because of this problem. Illiteracy rates among females in some South Asian and African countries reach 80 percent because of culture. In Nepal, 93 percent of women over 30 live without being able to read. The majority of women that have this problem are due to:
1. culture                          
2. social aspects of women
3. religion
4. history
5. poverty
6. family responsibility
7. access to where classes are taught

We can look at the above factors in determining the reason for the high level of illiteracy, and other reasons as well.

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MLA Citation:
"The Problem of Illiteracy." 13 Mar 2018

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The problem is real, and the solution is even harder to try to solve. Illiteracy should not be the problem that it is, and especially different among genders.

     Another example of the illiteracy problem was presented in the NY Times. “An elderly New York City woman recently teetered on the brink of death for no apparent reason. After hours of questioning, hospital doctors handling her case determined that illiteracy spurred the crises. For several weeks, she had ingested too much medication because she could not read a prescription label.” What can be done to solve the illiteracy problem?

     There are many solutions to the problem of illiteracy, but illiteracy is almost like a cold. There is not one main cure for it, but some solutions may be better than others such as continuing programs for the illiterate, and more money for our libraries. Although Government plays a big role in most of the programs, it raises issues such as where to focus the problem. Is it illiteracy itself or the causes it creates? It’s expensive to educate, but more expensive not too. The democratic role, liberal role or republican role are all here to help stamp out illiteracy, but they also realize the problem lies within the individual. They have to have the will or the desire to conquer their obstacles and reach out and seek help.
     My proposed policy would also focuses on the family literacy program to include:
· programs that contribute more to public understanding on the nature of literacy and its importance to the family and especially women
· to focus on the female role and her importance
· to make programs accessible for low-income women
· to continue with the female role models such as teachers
· women who need to have more highly specialized programs which will contribute to their lifestyles
· raise more awareness in men on the importance of illiteracy and its impact on women
· children would read instead of being placed in front of the television
· children would read instead of playing computer games
· Sr. High School students as well as colleges would donate a semester to helping the illiterate women and all who are illiterate. This plan would be two folds. The students would capitalize the results in a report that can help the students to realize its importance and the problem while helping the illiterate to become illiterate.

     We need to not only look at the standard attack on illiteracy, but go beyond that and reach the sole, “the families, and or the parent(s)”. Whether we are single moms or dads, we all need to continue the attack on illiteracy through more awareness. More women need to be educated on this problem. We need to make programs workable and accessible to all women. This would create a positive trend by breaking the poverty cycle and will provide contributions to not only the individual to promote self-esteem, but contributions to the families, cities, states and the world. Together we can help solve the problem of illiteracy!!


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