Education, Literacy and “Educated Illiterates”, clarifying the terms

Often I’ve heard the reference to “educated illiterates”, a term used in referring to people who’ve acquired western education with no resultant expected broadening of horizon… While literacy is obviously acquired in schools, education is in no way limited to schools. Just as formal education doesn’t even end in the classroom, with classwork being coupled with extra-curricular activities.

The idea of “educated illiteracy” basically implies “educational” achievement to be the basic measure of intelligence, a notion that makes me cringe and one which is totally wrong, as I, just like most of us have met and known people who could be rightly described as educated illiterates, people who have never spent a second in a classroom but who are highly intelligent.

It appears most of us go to school to get qualifications, so we could get that dream job, and that’s it. Even while in school most people only read what the have to. If it’s not course material, it’s not worth any effort, but as it is said our station in life is a function of things we learnt when we did not have to learn them.

We never take the time to truly educate ourselves, to learn the workings of the world. We need to actually expand our horizons. learn more than is required for exams, learn more than what school has taught you about your job, learn more about finances than the norm, learn more about your religion than the basics, go deeper than popular opinion and hackneyed knowledge, learn more about life than you need to just survive.

You could be an educated illiterate, but NEVER be literate without acquiring education.


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