Literacy can be described best in the words of Kofi Annan “Literacy is…. the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman and child can realise their full potential”.
The Indian subcontinent has a population of 1.3 billion and only 80% population is literate. The country has been developing economically through the years ever since the British rule ended. But the economic development may not lead to an empowered nation unless the citizens are literate. The literacy level in 1947 was 12% which has seen a slow progress though the years. It is necessary to understand that only literacy can take India to new heights.
There are various reasons of the widespread illiteracy in India. In certain households where the parents are not educated they consider education a choice and not necessity. Thus, these children do not attain education and comprise of the large number of the uneducated in the country. The other barrier that hinders the education in the poor is the economic instability that prohibits families to invest in education. They prefer to send their wards to work and earn money instead of spending on education. Thus illiteracy passes on from one generation to another.
The consequences of illiteracy directly affect the lives of the uneducated and further hinders the growth of the nation. The problems such as child marriage, lack of family planning and poverty that are undermining the development of the country are mainly caused due to illiteracy. The country’s gender disparity is visible in the records as the number of educated men is way more than women. Women fail to be educated and the absence of literacy makes them inferior to men in the household. They cannot help in making decisions of the household or be aware about social duties like family planning.
The power vested in education can be used to eradicate all the problems the underprivileged in the country are facing. Thus, national level organizations like Smile Foundation are running programmes aimed at the education of the youth. ‘Mission Education’ is a national level programme of Smile Foundation, which is committed to providing basic education and healthcare to underprivileged children. Through efforts of Smile Foundation, 21,346 children were directly provided education through 120 centres in 21 states also the enrolment had equal participation as 50% enrollers were girls.
Initiatives such as this are helping the poor to attain education and become assets to the economy. With an educated youth the country shall prosper even further in the sectors of education, medicine, information technology and sciences not merely in India but at the global stage. The contribution of each literate individual would also help the process to spread education widely in every sector of the society. it is the duty of the privileged to hold hands of the less privileged and help them attain the same stature in the society. Education in the best remedy to the problem of the country as it opens endless doors of opportunities.
To know more about Smile Foundation’s initiative Mission Education please log in to https://www.smilefoundationindia.org/education.html