Sample of an Essay on Why Illiteracy Is a Threat of the Modern World

Child Writing

I agree, this might sound slightly incredible. Let’s just start from the fact that you CAN read and understand this piece of writing quite easily. Also, you CAN take your pen and notebook and rewrite this text. Besides, you CAN open MS Word and re-type this paragraph or just copy and paste it. I know, you are going to tell me even more: your whole town CAN do the same, and so CAN the whole town where your grandparents live. So, what’s the matter then?

This is the question we are going to answer in this post. Recently, one of our managers has returned from a volunteer program in Africa. He worked there as a teacher of English and doctor, so you can try to imagine how deep his impressions can be. Actually, it was he who threw out to us an idea of a really great persuasive essay about the problem of illiteracy.

Below we are going to provide a few facts and numbers that can let you see a clearer picture of the whole issue. You are welcome to use them in your own paper. So, let’s make out the fact that nowadays there are people who CANNOT read, rewrite, and re-type this text does pose a threat to our world.

What Is Literacy Today and Why It Is So Vitally Essential?

In order to realize the scale of the problem, let’s first determine what literacy means to the people of the 21st century. This can help us develop the thought and hence dig deeper into the opposite phenomenon – illiteracy.

As of 2017, the definition of literacy has expanded from the ability to read, write, and perform arithmetic operations up to the ability to access, gain, and use knowledge via language, communication, and technology. So, yes, it is not enough to read, write, and type if you want to be considered a literate person. And that is the problem because even without googling you can name several regions where many people do not have (or are not given) the opportunity to acquire knowledge and thus use it. In the 21st century. Despite the fact that they MIGHT know how to read and write.

So, why do modern people need to store literacy in their survival bags?  

  • It gives us the possibility to cognize and develop ourselves.
  • It is an essential part of our thinking and decision-making ability.
  • It helps (and actually forces) us to analyze what is going on in the world and whether it all is really as bad as we are told.
  • It boosts our creativity, helping us to generate new ideas and produce new things.
  • It is our human right.

Indeed, since the time our smart ancestor took a stylus (no, no, not that input device in the box with your mobile phone, but a thin short stick with a sharp end), draw a few intricate symbols, and gave them meanings, we have been possessing probably one of the most valuable rights.

However, is it equal today? Here are three arguments for you to prove that the situation is much more serious than it may seem.  

Illiteracy Issue in the United States

Surprised? Believe it or not, but illiteracy is still a problem in the US, which costs the country about $240 billion each year. No, no, it’s not the sum stolen from American banks yearly. It is made, however, by general labor productivity loss, poverty, unrealized welfare issue and tax revenues, crime, and the like.

As Dale Hansen, the author of the Huffingtonpost article I’ve just cited, wisely notes, it is not worth trusting the statistical data when it comes to the literacy rates. However, even if the numbers you can find below were fabricated, it is still clear that they cannot be very far from the truth, which is quite shocking.

The research by the US Department of Education, conducted in 2016, introduces the following data:

  • 32 million or 14% of adults cannot read (their skills are below the basic level);
  • 19% of high school graduates cannot read;
  • 70% of inmates in US prisons cannot read.

If you want a greater effect, you can also provide some comparisons. For example, 32 million people make the population of modern Malaysia.

Illiteracy Issue in the People’s Republic of China

Chinese Students

Chinese calligraphy is rightfully considered an art. China is one of the most successful developing countries that is confidently taking the lead in industry and finance. More and more Chinese universities are being ranked among the world’s best educational institutions. So, what’s the problem there?

No doubt, China should be given its due in terms of the fight with illiteracy. If we went back to 1950s, we would see that the government was diligently working on simplifying the complicated system of traditional Chinese writing. It might sound strange to a person who is used to so simple letters that many Chinese people were illiterate because it was really difficult for them to learn all necessary characters by heart.

So, their simplification did improve the situation. In 2015 the literacy rate in China was 96.4%. However, the illiterate 4.6% of the adult population mean that more than 50 million adult people still cannot read and write.

Illiteracy Issue in Afghanistan

I believe, there is no need to remember the past of this country here. And make sure your language is diplomatic if you are going to use this example in your college paper.

Although the general situation is now much better than it was before the Taliban regime collapsed, it is still difficult to predict how much time it will take to fully restore the education system, and the whole country. The facts that women were banned from education for quite a long time and that some inhabited territories are still uncontrolled significantly hinder even the efforts to make some positive changes.

Afghanistan, as well as many other weak countries, can finally make the rest of the world realize that literacy is one of most important factors of both local and global development and peace. Literacy should not be taken for granted or as something that goes without saying. We should support, develop, and protect it if we want our motherlands to prosper. 

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