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22 May 2015

Educated Illiterates


Affixed to the corner of a lonely enclosure, pondering really hard on the reason why the so-called educated figures at times behave, reason and exhibit as though they are typical village farmers who have never heard the dictating voice of a formal teacher. Then why should we refer to them as “Educated” when they can’t demonstrate it in every considerable aspect of life. Maybe we should just juxtapose the two terms “educated” and “illiterate” and refer to them by the one keyword “EDUCATED ILLITERATES”.

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First of all, giving a clear-cut distinction about who is said to be educated. The question of what really defines an educated person isn’t necessarily easy to answer but rather important to try.
An Educated person, according to an average countryman, is someone who has undergone a process of learning either in a school or a form of structured training that results in an enhanced mental capability to function effectively and intellectually in novel and familiar real world situations. Though according to Harvard School Of Education, “being educated is different from being schooled, schooling only gives the cognition of writing, reading and getting examined which rarely exceed the long narrow corridors of the classrooms”.

Also quoting from the words of Napoleon Hill in his book entitled “Think And Grow Rich”, “the term Education was derived from the Latin word “educo” which means to educe, to draw out, to fathom, and to develop something out of abundance of knowledge.

An Educated man is one who has so much developed the faculties of his mind that he may acquire any knowledge he wants or its equivalent without violating the rights of others.

He is that man who knows how and where to get knowledge when needed and has the ability to organize and execute it into definite and reasonable plans of action.”

Not to leave out the term “Illiterate” in the grey area; According to a layman, an illiterate is someone who lacks formal education and thereby unable to read and write which makes such person limited in terms of knowledge about what he could have known by reading written writings.

He is that someone who demonstrates and have little or no formal education and thereby, marked with low self-esteem and inferiority to an expected standard of familiarity with formal languages and literature.

Obviously, whenever a vocal cord vibrates and the word “illiteracy” is voiced, “inability to read and write” is the first and virtually the only conclusion that comes into our mind which often makes us look down on the such called illiterates as tykes and illiteracy as a bane of the society. This kind of mentality needs some changes, its hydra-headed branches need some cutting, the flooring needs some scrubbing and new pillars of true aufklarung needs erecting. Because there is more to illiteracy than we might really think it is. According to Alvin Toffler, “the illiterate of the these days is not someone who cannot read and write but someone who can not learn, unlearn and relearn”.

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I’ll rather say an illiterate is a man who due to some unfavourable conditions, fails to know the fundamentals of a given branch of knowledge or doesn’t have the basic ideas or necessary know-how of a particular subject matter.
Now thinking widely and loudly, what do we call a renowned lawyer who lacks the ability to use computers at a somewhat basic level ? He’s educated, YES!, but a computer illiterate.

What do we also call a Professor Of Literature in a degree-awarding tertiary institution who lacks the basic arithmetic and numerical skills that are required in day-to-day life and even unable to solve a cheap quadratic equation to a bearably defendable minimum? Isn’t that Arithmetical Illiteracy?
What about a doctorate degree holder who lacks familiarity with his own culture, he misunderstands common cultural sayings and goes off track when references are made to folklores and tales about his own fatherland ? Obviously an educated cultural illiterate.

Furthermore, let’s take a look at a man, well known to be educated but has that mentality of “the media never lie”.He interprets every information he gets through the media as ‘true’ and therefore starts spreading it with the most sincere tone he knows how to inculcate, one of the reasons why we always have rumours flying all around , I suppose that is media illiteracy.
Yet to be convinced? then thumb through the mentality of an educated football fan who says; “the referee was against our team purposefully because we’re black”, he holds incorrect and illusional beliefs about races and tends to spit out damaging stereotypical sentences like “All northerners are bombers”, “All white men are rich” and “All chinese can fight kungfu”, to be brief.These are expressions of not only prejudice or ignorance but of sheer racial illiteracy.

Come to think of it, an educated health worker who out of his non-challant attitude, throws the wrapper of a just-consumed snack on the road despite the knowledge that there are trashcans conspicously sitting by the road side.The action seems illiterate and affirmatively, it is!
Lastly, let’s take a look at a man who is blessed with fancy educational degrees and materialistic luxuries but the nucleus of his mind is nothing better than that of a rural fisherman with tones of electrons of illiteracy revolving round it.

There are ‘n’ number of such instances that get us perplexed and tip us into a coma of enigma if really such people, despite their formal dexterity and educational prowess, should be termed “educated”.
This is where the oxymoron “EDUCATED ILLITERATE” comes handy as the question of Who, Why and Where they are have just been given a clearer view of observation which should settle the wambling in our ever-inquisitive minds.
Educated illiterates are those who are said to be educated (schooled) but somehow turn out to be illiterates when it comes to certain fields of knowledge, wisdom and subject matters.
The extreme and absolute limit of education might be reached by a man, he can never go beyond the tremendously illimitable and inimitable buoyancy of illiteracy.

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Therefore, standing by laid-down facts, every single body who claims to be educated must be an illiterate when it comes to other aspects of life, be it physical, cultural, critical, religious or emotional, to mention a few.
So, I think it’s high time we started nodding to the saying of John Donne that goes like “no man is an island on his own” and the words of Socrates, the greek philosopher which says “the only true wisdom is not the wisdom that you can’t know or can’t be everything but the wisdom that you know and you are virtually nothing”.

Conclusively, it is wholly impossible for a man to be referred to as totally educated without a pinch of illiteracy in times of diversity, well I think I shouldn’t have drawn my conclusion that fast , who knows, the great ones they say, are yet to be born.Perhaps we might still see that man who will stand so exclusively out of the crowd and be extolled by not being referred to as an “Educated Illiterate” . But tell that man to be prepared to have “the intelligence of Albert Eistein, the business prowess of Donald Trump, the creativity of Walt Disney, the scientific knowledge of Robert Hooke, the physique of Arnold Schwarzenegger, the wealth of Bill Gates, the athletic ability of Michael Jordan, the social grace of Jackie Kennedy, the kungfu moves of Jet Li, the human rights mentality of Nelson Mandela and the heart of Mother Theresa” all combined in him. Sounds impossible right? That’s the nerve which is so much closer to the truth than we would like to admit.

Finally, extracting a quote from H.G Well’s diary, I think this is for all and sundry “Anyone can be learned, everyone is in some ways analphabetic .We must be intolerant and cautious of ignorance, but we must have the understanding of illiteracy as one of those day-to-day norms we can never boycott no matter the level of education”.

DISCLAIMER : This post was previously posted online by the same author, so this is not plagiarism of any sort.

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