Illiteracy and How it can be Conquered

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As much as third world countries have bared much of the brunt as far as the drastic effects that stem from illiteracy are concerned, the industrialized countries are also facing a crisis. It is estimated that around 60 million Americans are functionally uneducated. The repercussion for these soaring numbers is in-depth yet nothing is being done to address this issue.  If the global illiteracy levels are not addressed, it will exacerbate an already worse situation. Numerous weak democratic institutions could convert into unfair asymmetrical power relations that have been typical of the contradictory nature of today’s democracies (Lunsford 45).

The actual inconsistency in the use of democracy is observed in the US where ‘Government Democracy’ is perceived as a government system. In this kind of system, businessmen have power over the ruled by virtue of the fact that they control the private society while the majorities marginalized in the population observe in silence. Comprehended in this way, democracy has been transformed into a system of public ratification and elite decisions (Lunsford 46).

In an effort to comprehend objectivity and subjectivity in the dialectical relationship of the limitations and promise of conscientization, individuals in the society transform themselves into tramps of the obvious where they attempt to demystify conscientization. In the end, the obvious changes appear into the object of people’s critical reflections. Paulo believes that in order for people to transform their societies, they need to demystify their theory and practice through critical reflections. This will ensure that the oppressed and marginalized in the society make the elites sleepless as they ponder on how to solve their problems. Through this, the marginalized may be restless but they will not become impatient until they achieve their goals. It is therefore critical that the marginalized and oppressed in the society behave as though they are trumps of the obvious in the articulation of their demands for a just society because the gains in the end are very considerable (Lunsford 45).


It would be reasonable to conclude that Paulo’s influence has been holistic as far as his proposal for a radical approach in dealing with illiteracy is concerned, whether in the western world or in the undeveloped nations. If education is to realize its goals to enlighten the oppressed rather than oppressing them, it should be implemented as a pedagogy of knowing. Education for freedom should not be hijacked to teach a political flavored ideology, but be employed as a platform to transmit ideas of the rulers in spite of how good it may appear. Teachers should not misuse education to sell their own propaganda to the recipients. This is because knowledge and teaching are dialogic in disposition and their interaction is dependent on the involved parties being aware of themselves; an attitude that is christened by Paulo as conscientization. The importance of this consciousness stems from a philosophical perception of language that can only be assured by a philosophical sound mind (Lunsford 45).


Central to Paulo knowing pedagogy is the fact that through knowing the world, one can eventually change it. Education should not be substituted by political action; however, it is indispensible to politicians given the fact that it plays a critical role in developing critical consciousness. This is sequentially pegged on language’s transforming power. This is so because letter and sound are matched with each other as well as their connotative meaning. It is argued by Paulo that it would not only be counterproductive but also impossible for teachers to ridicule magical thinking and kill superstitious belief. This he argues stems from the fact that pre-critical thought is still thought; hence, should not be rejected but respected. Therefore, the important undertaking for the adult literacy process is to grant the means through which this kind of transformation can occur (Lunsford 46).

Teacher’s recognition entails appreciating what learners know and respecting this knowledge. In addition, this recognition entails assessments. Paulo acknowledges that it is a rhetorical virtue to be nonjudgmental; hence, this is not a rational alternative. It i.............

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