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Frequently Asked Questions About Literacy

Literacy is commonly described as  the ability to read and write and use the printed material. In our rapidly changing world, literacy is increasingly viewed as a “way of being,” a manner of carrying out social transactions and developing oneself.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization defines literacy as the “ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate, compute, and use the printed and written materials associated with varying contexts. It involves a continuum of learning in enabling individuals to achieve their goals, develop their knowledge and potential, and participate fully in their community and wider society.”

Basic literacy is the ability of a person to read and write with understanding a simple message in any language or dialect.

Functional literacy is a range of skills and competencies – cognitive, affective, and behavioral, which enables individuals to:

  • live and work as human persons;
  • develop their potentials;
  • make critical and informed decisions; and
  • function effectively in society within the context of their environment and that of the wider community (local, national, global) in order to improve the quality of their lives and that of society.
  • communication skills
  • critical thinking and problem solving
  • sustainable use of resources and productivity
  • development of self and a sense of community
  • expanding one’s world vision

Functional literacy is the ability to communicate effectively, to solve problems scientifically, to think critically and creatively, to use resources sustainably and be productive, and to develop one’s sense of self and of community and to expand’s one’s world view.

Literacy means freedom. It is a tool for empowering ourselves and our community. It can free us from many personal, economic, and social constraints by helping to:

  • eradicate poverty,
  • eradicate child mortality,
  • curb population growth,
  • achieve greater equality;
  • make participation in all social economic and political processes possible;
  • ensure sustainable development, peace, and democracy; and
  • enhance our capacity to lead a free and more fulfilled life.


Get on the bandwagon of literacy and help build our beloved country, the Philippines.