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Why Measuring Literacy Performance is Important

Malcolm X once said, “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” However, sizeable segments of the world’s population are still illiterate. 

According to recent global literacy performance measurement studies, about two-thirds of the world population (roughly 750 million adults) lack the basic arithmetic, reading, and writing skills.

Unsurprisingly, a bulk of this number belongs to the poorest of countries, which do not have access to basic education. The growing problem of illiteracy around the world proves that we should measure literacy performance.

What is literacy performance measurement?

Literacy performance measurement reflects how literate specific groups are. Specifically, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), it is the total number of literate persons in a specific age group expressed as a percentage of the total population of that group. 

The literacy performance rate can indicate the effectiveness of a community’s educational system and programs. If a group has a high literacy rate, it means their community’s educational system and programs may be effective; otherwise, their educational system and programs may need to be evaluated. 

What is the Cost of a Poor Literacy Performance Measurement Rating?

The economic cost of illiteracy is too great to be unnoticed. A 2015 research reported that illiteracy costs approximately 1.19 trillion dollars to the global economy, as those with poor literacy levels are forced to depend on either committing crimes or accepting social welfare to get by. 

When a community has high literacy levels, the people are more likely to enjoy a thriving economy because education opens new employment opportunities that enable them to get out of poverty. 

In addition, our technologically advanced world requires knowledgeable and skilled people, and those who do not have the necessary knowledge and skills cannot keep up with the pace. Their individual development is hampered, and they have limited life opportunities.

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How does literacy performance affect a community’s economic development?

Literacy performance can dictate the economic development of a community. If a country’s literacy performance is poor, its people are more likely to underperform professionally. 

Countries like Niger, which have literacy ratings below 30%, suffer from poor judicial effectiveness, lack of monetary freedom, and high infant mortality rate. With a lack of education and poor literacy, these problems arise, and as a result, the economy suffers greatly.

Conversely, countries like the United States show that expanding literacy has greatly reduced inequalities and gaps. Other regions like Latin America, the Middle East, and Northern Africa are following suit; the majority of their youth are highly literate. 

This development proves that communities with good literacy performance measurement scores can create healthier, more dynamic, and more stable economies.

The importance of literacy cannot be emphasized more. Basic arithmetic, reading, and writing skills are needed to elevate an individual’s chance of survival and promote economic development. Literacy performance measurement is a valid indicator of intellectual and economic growth. 

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