Everyone has the right to education. Denying children their right to education means, creating a society of illiterate adults. These kids are the leaders of tomorrow and should be allowed to go to school. Educating children is more like educating the society at large. We have made it this far in life because our parents and society valued education and instilled the good virtue in us. Education is everything, it is from it that we get executive leaders, managers, professors, lecturers, and so forth. Illiteracy is a big problem that is affecting many nations in the world. It is the lack of the basics skills such as reading, writing, and communicating. Many countries are advocating for free primary education and this is a positive move towards eradicating illiteracy in our society.
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Causes of primary school illiteracy
It is estimated that, in the world in every five adults over the age of 15, one of them is illiterate. It is through literacy that one gets opportunities and skills that can sustain him/her throughout his/her life. In school one learns how to read, write, and communicate with others. Today, almost all jobs entail the use of reading and writing and it would be very difficult for one to get employed without the fundamental basics of literacy. Education to the children is of utmost importance in creating a better world for them to dwell in and everyone around them. The first step in fighting illiteracy is investigation of its causes. Some researchers in New Zealand carried out a research to ascertain the reasons why illiteracy among the primary schools children was still prevalent. They found out that most of the children dropped out of school at the fourth grade. The reasons were: some children perceived education to be difficult, some of the schools did not have enough resources (both equipments and human resource) and this affected the quality of education given to this children, other children could not get access to schools, and the lack of teacher student relationship (Comber and Nixon 2).
Illiteracy in primary schools, especially the third world countries has been caused by declining levels of finance and economic activities. Most schools lack the appropriate books and other reading materials that enhance education. It is estimated that among the middle income earners thirteen children can only access one book while among the low income earners one book can only be accessed by a total of 300 children. Furthermore, these children do not have much time to study. They have to do the household chores such as cooking and fetching firewood (Moysy et al 6). Poverty is eating up most households and instead of the children going to schools they are abused and overworked in order to provide a living for the family. Others can not even afford the necessary requirement to go to school such as uniforms and books. They live below the poverty line. Most of the parents are not aware of the significance of education and are not interested in it. It will take an extra effort from the government and non governmental organization if at all illiteracy is to be eradicated.
Efforts of eradicating illiteracy
UNESCO is trying to fight primary school illiteracy by targeting the most vulnerable population. These are the street children, slum residents, refugees, and children with special needs such as the mentally or physically disabled. Its number one goal is the promotion of education for all. It has succeeded in doing this though it is facing many challenges especially in poor countries where expenditure on primary education is on the decline with a threat on its quality (Anon. 2).
Most developing countries have already seen the need for education and are advocating for free and compulsory primary education. All children are supposed to remain in school until the age of 15 years. Some of these countries are researching on the possibilities of incorporating free and compulsory secondary education that is proving to be difficult. In Bangladesh, the government started a program called “Integrated Non-Formal Education Pragramme” (INFEP) in 1991. The purpose of the programme is to educate the illiterate person’s within the country. In line with it, other programmes have been started such as the “Library Association of Bangladesh” (LAB) which is working to build awareness and interest among policy makers and other groups of people in the society. It does this through writing articles and newsletters which are disseminated to the public through seminars, holding conferences with policy makers and meeting development agents in the rural areas. Bangladesh has been supported by UNESCO to set up libraries and information centers in villages such as the Kakrain, Tetulia and Hajipara. These libraries are aimed at promoting awareness to the rural dwellers as well as encouraging them to read. The country has played a very great role in supporting both formal and non-formal education to children and adults. Those children who cannot make it to the formal institutions are gathered in their rural areas where they receive non formal education (Uddin 9).
It is our responsibility to ensure that children are not denied their right to education. Parents (who are usually the first teachers) in collaboration with the society should ensure that their children go to school to continue with their learning. They should take them to schools where they are assured of quality education. Any parent who is deemed to refuse his children their right should be taken to necessary authorities and appropriate measures taken upon him to ensure that these children remain in schools.
It is the work of the government to promote primary education by offering free education and necessary equipments for learning. Quality education can only be through professional teachers. The government should ensure that there are enough and competent teachers in all schools to facilitate learning (Bass 85). Informal education should be provided to adults as ways of encouraging them to support their children in accessing education (Pandey 83). Most parents refuse their children their right to go to school due to their ignorance. They were never educated and therefore they do not know the value of education or why they should allow their children to go to school. Adult education would play a very great role in convincing such parents. Most developing countries have started adult education where all illiterate adults are encouraged to attend.
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Illiteracy in primary schools is a vice that is eating away our society. It is a universal problem that is affecting many nations in the world. Children should be allowed their right to education irrespective of race, ethnic, physical or mental disabilities. UNESCO has tried to fight with this vice by promoting education to all especially the less privileged in the society such as the physically and mentally handicapped. Among the many countries aggressively fighting with illiteracy, Bangladesh is one of them and has started programmes and libraries to provide awareness to the public as well as promoting learning. It is working hand in hand with the rural development agents to encourage learning within the rural set up. It is the responsibilities of the parents, the society, and the government to ensure that these children remain in schools. Literate children make up a world of intellectuals.
Anon. “Educating all-eradicating illiteracy-includes related information on basic education conference to be held in Thailand.” UN Chronicle, 1990. Web.
Bass, Catriona. Education in Tibet: policy and practice since 1950 Politics in contemporary Asia. London: Zed Books, 1998
Comber Barbara, and Nixon Helen. “Re-searching literacy development: Visible and invisible repertoires in middle primary school Centre for Studies in Literacy, Policy and Learning Cultures.” University of South Australia, 2003. Web.
Moysy, Zaghloul. “UNESCO and International Bureau of Education. The challenge of illiteracy: from reflection to action.” Volume 995 of Garland reference library of social science. Volume 1 of IBE studies on education New York: Taylor & Francis, 1994
Pandey V. C. Literacy None-Formal Education. Volume 2 of Education Planning and Human Development. New York: Gyan Books, 2005
Uddin Hanif. “Role of libraries in eradicating illiteracy in Bangladesh, with special reference to the situation in the SAARC countries.” Information science today, 2009. Web.