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Tiisetso Maloma
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The cure for illiteracy

07 June 2012, 07:12

Eradicating Illiteracy and poverty is Africa’s great challenge. This is a battle that has been on for years. One factor that is delaying the process is the unevenness of economic prosperity.

Access to information in Africa is uneven. Most Africans are below the bread line. So it’s difficult for these families to supplement their children’s education with things like computers; internet and other learning materials out of the class room.

Illiteracy goes hand in hand with poverty. Does this it mean it will forever be a nightmare for Africa?

Government, companies and non-profit-organisations are forever trying to take technology to the people. Good.

There are reasons as to why we say people are illiterate. There are reasons why illiteracy remains a scourge to our society. Why teach anyone to use a computer if such skills will not be used. Still we promote the teaching of certain skills whereas the opportunity to apply such skills is very scarce.

To me illiteracy is not the biggest challenge that this continent has. This phenomenon is directly linked to the diversity of economic activities.  One would not be too wrong if they said activities that require mostly skilled an academic labour do very little to promoting literacy.

To eradicate illiteracy we need to more of economic activities that affect even people below the bread line. Illiteracy is the unavailability of economic activities to the uneducated and unskilled.


For us to move ahead; we need to do something above availing technology and information.

We need to identify possible ways that can promote economic development for the benefit of the majority. Not just reliance on foreign investment.

Let’s say the local textile industry’s gross revenue increases by X millions in a given year. It means some of those millions will be spread across other industries like: security, freight, construction etc. The industries I have mentioned here have a greater chance of affecting the unskilled/uneducated labour.

We need to foster a culture that supports local products. Bring to the people the understanding of what supporting local products does. And people will position themselves as service providers to the economy in sectors they like.

Illiteracy gets eradicated when the poor of the poorest get an opportunity to participate in the economy.  With that little salary; they will afford better education and supplements I mentioned above for their kids. Thus promoting literacy.

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