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Literacy and beyond

Jan 09,2017 - Last updated at Jan 09,2017

On January 8, Jordan marked the Arab Day for the Eradication of Illiteracy. The country has many reasons to be proud in this regard, but statistics also show an unpleasant fact: women continue to have higher illiteracy rates than men.

Great leaps were made by the Kingdom towards eradicating illiteracy; from 88 per cent of the population in 1952, the rate of illiteracy dropped to a mere 6.4 per cent in 2015 due to long-term plans implemented by the Ministry of Education together with other national institutions.

But the average rate of 6.4 per cent illiterate people is made up of 3.4 per cent men and almost triple that much, 9.5 per cent, women, which shows that boys are still given preferential treatment when it comes to learning, even though it is the women, the mothers in a family, that are instrumental in imparting knowledge to children.

The occasion, the Ministry of Education said, highlights the Kingdom’s awareness of the dangers of illiteracy and the importance of overcoming it in order to raise individuals’ standards of living and increase their incomes.

The ministry established hundreds of nationwide centres for eradicating illiteracy, which shows commitment to taking serious action to combat it. 

But total win over illiteracy would be not only eradicating it, increasing the rates of those reading and writing, but also improving the quality of education to make it a tool for enlightenment and for developing analytical thinking among the population.

Countries do not need only people who can read and write, they thrive and progress with people who can think rationally and critically.

Being able to sift through the body of written things, to judge what is real and possible and what is exaggeration or lies is important.

Beautiful life values and thoughts can be spread by written text, but so can terrorism, radicalism, hate, incitement to crime and discrimination. 

Unless individuals are educated enough and capable of distinguishing truth from falsehood, reality from myth and innocent desire to share from vested interests, they can gullibly fall into traps set by those who use knowledge for dangerous pursuits.

 

Knowledge is power, but it matters tremendously who wields it.

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