Some recent literature on economics, in the search for the feasibility of literacy by reaching a family-educated person, distinguishes between “nearby illiterates” and “isolated illiteracy”. The first refers to an illiterate person living in a family with writers, and the latter to a person living in a family of all illiterate people.
The dilemma faced by economists, in general, regarding this literature, was that many people in poor countries were not just illiterate, but isolated illiterates. This was clearly reflected in UNESCO’s definition of literacy as “the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, direct and calculate, using printed and written materials associated with different contexts.
Literacy involves continuity of learning in empowering individuals to achieve their goals, to develop their knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in their community and the wider community.”
Since the 1980s, some have argued that literacy is ideological, which means that literacy is always present in a context, along with the values associated with this context.
Since 1990, there has been another debate about the need to expand the meaning of illiteracy and what literacy means, especially after the advent of the Internet and its expansion in the world, and some have argued that the definition of literacy should include the ability to use tools such as web browsers, text processing software, and text messages.
Similar expanded skill sets have been called computer literacy, information literacy and technological literacy. Some scientists also propose the idea of multilingualism, which includes functional literacy, critical literacy, and rhetorical literacy.
Those ideas evolved until 2009, when U.S. President Barack Obama declared October 2009 National Information Literacy month.
“Instead of just owning data, we also have to learn these skills to get, compare, and evaluate information,” Obama’s announcement said, continuing: “Although we may know how to find the information we need, we must also know how to evaluate it.
I invite the people of the United States to remember the importance of the role that information plays in our daily lives, and to appreciate the need to better understand its impact,” he concludes.
A brief definition of IT literacy can be provided, which is the possibility of operating and communicating with IT devices, such as computers and videos, etc., to understand the rest of the formation of systems, or network subsystems. It is understanding documents relating to programmes and how they are used, or understanding and using IT terms, such as Ram/Rom external memory as an external computer storage unit, or magnetic strips or cylinders.
It is about the possibility of solving problems using information technology, how to identify and use alternative sources of information, and to discuss the history and future of information technology. It should have a degree of foresight, in terms of the impact of information technology on ethical and humanitarian issues.
After this, there had to be many symptoms that emerged with the expansion of technology, especially in developing countries, similar to giving a patient an insulin injection to save him from sugar while suffering from a fatal skin allergy, and to understand it more we will find massive information pollution and intellectual pollution that must be eliminated first before thinking about entering the age of knowledge, or more precisely, the age in which knowledge depends on its economy in its broadest sense.
Then we will find many other symptoms that have infiltrated with the transfer of technology to the Arab countries and its owner, which is a result of a lack of awareness and a lack of education with awareness, including electronic addiction, including electronic appearance, including electronic happiness, including the electronic community.
Moreover, all of this constitutes a major obstacle between the individual and the preoccupation with receiving knowledge, which has necessarily been emphasized by all definitions that have addressed the subject of technological illiteracy and erased it, and in a clearer sense, we can say that technological illiteracy can be overcome in poor countries, but there is no point in that process if it is not understood from that process that it is for the use of technology in order to acquire knowledge and continue the journey of science and learning and that technology is only a tool to facilitate the process of communicating with the world, including benefiting from the knowledge and experiences of others, which is not an end in itself, as many understand it.
Moreover, many developing countries face many challenges: eliminating traditional illiteracy on the one hand, and information and cognitive illiteracy on the other, and this requires building a knowledge environment summarized by contemporary wisdom that says: “Knowledge is not granted by the teacher but is made by the learner.”
This environment should facilitate and encourage the individual to acquire lifelong learning and self-training skills, focusing on reviewing what has been learned before, and re-learning.
“The illiterates of the 21st century are not those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, to reverse what they have learned, and to re-learn,” says American thinker Alvin Toffler, preceded by the Arab thinker Mohammed bin Abdul Jabbar bin Hassan al-Nafri more than a thousand years ago, who said: “stable science, stable ignorance.”
Let us not forget the need to change the traditional role of universities, not only in terms of scientific research, but also in innovation. As scientific research generates new knowledge, innovation leads to the production of new goods and services based on that knowledge. And to talk the rest.
Author : Manahel Thabet
Published December 18, 2018
Al Bayan Newspaper