Illiteracy is perhaps the greatest misfortune of the 21st century. Millions of people around the world, especially in Africa, are deprived of the right to a good education. The need for education cannot be understated. Developing countries around the world must invest in educating people in order to harness their potential as citizens. In a globalized world, information is powerful. Having knowledge about one’s country and circumstance is a powerful weapon to change and transform. Therefore, education plays a pivotal role in empowering people.
Illiteracy is a curse. An illiterate person is vulnerable in every moment of his daily life. He might be cheated in the market because he cannot understand the monetary transaction; the government might trick him into believing that he was getting his due, when he was actually not. Likewise, not being able to sign a document might mean a huge blow in obtaining what is rightfully his. Illiteracy is also a catalyst for the vicious poverty cycle. Lack of education is a great hindrance to securing a skilled job and improving one’s standard of living.
The world has made great strides in the field of education in the first decade-and-half of the 21st century, but large proportions of population around the world are unable to take part because of high costs or non-existent facilities. Increasing technological development also makes traditional learning inefficient and ineffective. The major causes of illiteracy include medieval thinking that prevent girls from attending school, social evils like caste systems and racism, inadequate facilities, over-population and poverty.
ILLITERACY IN AFRICA
Africa has been one of the most vulnerable regions in the world and consequently, children often do not have facilities that are adequate to receive a good education. From wars and genocides to poverty, government apathy and corruption, African children are more vulnerable than their counterparts elsewhere. Sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest literacy rate in the world.
The NGOs in Africa are doing a commendable job in mobilizing under-privileged children and providing them with education. Parents themselves may not be aware of the consequences illiteracy might have on their families. Literacy might end the cycle of poverty and give them voices to question the government, thereby securing their rights.
ILLITERACY IN GHANA
Although Ghana performs better than its other African counterparts, Ghana still faces problems relating to illiteracy. The adult literacy rate in Ghana is slightly under 75%. The government spends about 25% on education and enrollment has always been positive since 2008.
Problems in the education system in Ghana are due to the concentration of educational facilities in Accra. Government educational facilities don’t meet standards of private institutions. In rural areas of Ghana, children do not have access to quality education available to their counterparts in Accra, even though their economic standards are the same.
PAAJAF Foundation, like few others, is trying to provide accessible education to adolescents in the slums of Accra. The involvement of NGOs to improve education and provide access to under-privileged children cannot be minimized. It is important for donors and philanthropists to support the causes of PAAJAF to fight and eradicate illiteracy.