High illiteracy rates become a problem for everyone – the rich, middle class and poor. There are real consequences for everyone.
- Illiteracy has a direct effect on a person’s self-esteem.
- Illiterate learners place a financial strain on the education system.
- Illiteracy leads to generational learning problems.
- Illiteracy stops our society from developing at a steady rate.
- Illiteracy negatively impacts the amount of technological advancement in our society.
- Illiteracy increases poverty as illiterate people mostly earn the lowest wages in society.
- Illiteracy contributes to high unemployment rates.
- Illiteracy increases the crime rate in our society.
- Illiteracy increases incarceration rates/jail time in our society.
- Illiteracy leads to greater dependence on others as well as the state.
- Illiteracy can lead to lower levels of meaningful community involvement and civic participation.
- Illiteracy is linked to poor health.
- Illiteracy rates increase drug and alcohol abuse.
- Illiteracy rates have a negative effect on the overall health and well being of our country.
- Illiterate people might not be able to be fully involved on a completely equal basis in social and political discourse.
- Illiteracy leads to a lack of informed decision-making.
- Illiteracy leads to struggles in knowing and understanding your rights, to vote, to find work, to pay bills and to secure housing.
- Illiterate people may not vote or fully understand the consequences of their voting choice.
- Household illiteracy negatively affects school readiness in young children.
Less obvious consequences of illiteracy
- Lack of confidence
- Low self-esteem
- Continual financial hardship
- Inability to change circumstances
- Lowered life outcomes
- Reduced access to lifelong learning and professional development
- Dependency on others & state structures
- Un-stimulating work environment
- Despondency & loss of hope
- Deep frustration & feelings of aggression
- Early death due to ill health, leaving children without care
- Feelings of being ostracized from academia
- Having a sense of not belonging
If illiteracy is a problem for everyone, then there are real consequences for everyone living in a society affected by it. Does this not then lead us to think that it is everyone’s responsibility to do something about it. If we wait for our government to do anything about it, as we have been doing, we are in for
I challenge everyone who has read this article to find ONE person in your environment who YOU can teach to read. Make a long term commitment to using the skills and knowledge you have gained and the privilege you were born into, to help build the literacy of our nation, one person at a time.
Can you imagine the impact we could have if every literate South African
List of places you can volunteer to help with reading and literacy:
- Become a Buddy Reader with
- Edu Fun (for expats & local volunteers)
- Shine Literacy
- Help to Read
To read my previous article “What are the PROS and CONS of reading to your child daily?” please click here.
- What is literacy? by Lianne Bantjes
- Why you CAN’T skip reading to your child for 20 minutes per day by Lianne Bantjes
- Develop a culture of reading in your home by Lianne Bantjes
To explore working with Lianne in Randburg / Sandton and other areas in Johannesburg, contact her for a consultation to discuss how she can assist you.