In today’s fast-paced digital landscape the meaning of literacy has evolved beyond reading and writing. Literacy now affects all forms of communication and media and the covid-19 pandemic has magnified the divide in access to literacy opportunities. While literacy rates have been increasing steadily – UNESCO data shows that the youth literacy rate was nearly 92 per cent worldwide in 2019, up from 77 per cent in 1975, literacy remains a global problem worldwide as at least 773 million adults face literacy challenges –two third of them are women. The Covid-19 pandemic has magnified these roadblocks and disproportionately affected vulnerable populations. According to United Nations reports, in the early stages of the pandemic, school closures disrupted the education of 62 per cent of the Global students’ populations. And with literacy programs suspended during this time many with low literacy skills were unable to access essential information. Virtual schooling also affected students’ literacy according to NEWA- a non-profit education organisation. Reading scores in the fall of 2020 had been largely on par with previous years and researchers thought literacy might not be impacted so badly by the changes to schooling. But by spring of 2021, reading scores were between three and six percentile point lower.
Literacy is the benchmark by which a healthy society is measured. Learning how to read and write isn’t just important in the classrooms. Literacy impacts all facets of society, from healthcare to economic stability and beyond. In fact, experts use a country’s literacy rates to determine the overall ‘’ health and competence of communities’’. The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who can’t read said by MARK TWAIN. The ability to read and write is the most common definition of literacy. It is an essential tool in converting students into socially active citizens. Being able to read and write means being able to keep up with current events, communicate effectively and comprehend the issues that shape our world. Literacy is a fundamental pillar of a broader education. When we have the confidence to read, we have the confidence to learn both in and out of classroom. Sadly, children and teens that have difficulty reading are more likely to drop out of school before completing their basic education. This creates a negative and profound ripple effect. Did you know that ‘’The World Literacy Foundation’’ estimates that illiteracy costs the global economy 1.5 Trillion USD per year? No matter how ambitious one’s goals and efforts are-a lack of basic literacy and numeracy abilities automatically disqualifies many people from a wide range of quality jobs contributing to poverty and unemployment. In fact, illiterate workers earn 30-42 per cent less than their literate counterparts and are also more likely than those with better literacy skills to suffer poor health. There is far more literacy than just being able to read a book or write a shopping lists. Being able to read, write and comprehend what you’re reading gives you the building blocks you need to improve your quality of life and lays the groundwork for developing abilities needed to be self-sufficient. Women accounts for more than two-third of the world’s illiterate, according to UNESCO. This statistics correlates with estimates that 60 per cent of chronically hungry people are women and girls. When literacy cycle is broken, girls will be able to become economically engaged and self-sufficient, gaining a valuable asset for their own success: Self Respect. Literate women are more likely to send their children, especially their girls to schools. Women become more economically self-sufficient and active participants in their country’s social, political and cultural life when they learn read and write.