In an era when most of us want our children to know at least two foreign languages, there is still talk of illiteracy. But how can this term be defined?
It seems that illiteracy means much more than people generally think. In fact, basic illiteracy refers to people who have never attended school and therefore cannot read, write or even count at an elementary level. In addition to this type of illiteracy, the 20th century has seen the rise of the functional illiteracy, a phenomenon frequently observed among young people or adults who have attended and graduated from a school, maybe even a faculty, but do not understand or are not able to use reading and computing skills so that they can integrate into the community.
Furthermore, the 21st century has also defined illiteracy in the official language of a country, with direct reference to immigrants who only know their native language and fail to integrate into the new society by finding a job and housing.
The mid-2000s bring to the fore the new concept of digital illiteracy, i.e. people lacking the skills to use a modern technological device such a mobile phone, a computer, a tablet or any other home appliances.
In 2011, the European Commission stated that 40% of 15-year old Romanians are semi-literate, because they are unable to understand or write a text, do not have elementary knowledge of nature and society and cannot formulate an opinion.
Thus, the term illiteracy extends to new fields, giving rise to structural mathematical illiteracy, geographical illiteracy and even linguistic illiteracy. In 2013 thing are even worse: 4 out of 10 students drop out of the university because of this problem. In 2016, the graduation diploma cannot guarantee that the student does not have any kind of illiteracy.
The solution for overcoming this problem lies in the education, access to books, reading for and with children, and verbal interaction that enhances their creativity and curiosity.