Living an empowered life through literacy

UNESCO defines literacy as a continuum of learning and proficiency in reading, writing, and using numbers throughout life and is part of a larger set of skills, which include digital skills, media literacy, education for sustainable development and global citizenship, as well as job-specific skills.  

Literacy is empowering. To many of us, being literate is a foundation which can be utilized to create a massive change for everyone. It allows us to be more knowledgeable, competent, and well-equipped to create a better future for ourselves, our families, our communities, and our country. 

Let's look at some of the benefits of literacy in various industries.

Education. Literacy is a basic requirement for formal schooling. Individuals who struggle with reading and writing may face significant problems when they begin their schooling and pursue higher levels of learning. Literacy aids in the acquisition of knowledge. It enables us to broaden our perspectives and achieve expertise in our chosen fields of studies.

If not because of literacy, we may not have teachers, engineers, doctors, scientists, writers, and many other professionals and skilled-workers alike that contribute to creating a better world.

Economic Development. For us to sustain economic growth, literacy is a must. It improves the number of employment and career opportunities by allowing us to learn technical skills, think critically, and adapt to changing work situations. Literacy increases our chances of getting a better job, earning a higher salary, and contributing more efficiently to the growth of numerous businesses.

Health, Well-being, and Personal Empowerment. Literacy allows us to gain access to health information and comprehend medical instructions. For example, we can prevent diseases through all the data we can gather about hygiene, diet, healthcare practices, and many others. We can also easily follow what the doctors say during medical appointments or conduct research about our well-being and understand the protocols and the appropriate measures we can take.

In terms of personal empowerment, the fact that we know how to communicate well orally and in written forms is linked to boosting our self-esteem, which consequently leads to a transformed attitude, improved interpersonal relationships, and active participation in the community.

Social Cohesion and Civic Participation. Literacy fosters social inclusion and cohesion in our society. Literate people are more confident to interact with others from different cultures. We tend to know the beliefs and perspectives of other people, and it leads to an increased understanding, tolerance, and empathy. Moreover, being literate helps us to practice our civic rights and be involved in democratic activities. Citizens who are well-informed may process information critically, engage in political debate, participate in decision-making processes, and hold governments and institutions accountable for whatever legal rights we are seeking.

Technological Advancement. In this digital era, literacy is crucial so we can efficiently navigate and utilize technology, such as computers, smartphones, and the internet. Digital knowledge and skills are helpful for us to access online resources, communicate globally, and utilize technology for personal and professional use. 

Literacy is a fundamental skill that empowers all of us, individuals, fuels societal progress, and promotes economic development. Ensuring sound literacy across nations through initiatives and universal access to quality education equates to reaching our full potential and establishes a more inclusive, successful, and resilient nation.


By Ma. Teresa C. Guballa
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