Literacy

By Tin Bartolome

Posted at Mar 06 2015 01:46 AM | Updated as of Mar 06 2015 09:46 AM

My father always put a premium on education. He often said that the only thing he could provide that could never be taken away from us is education. At first, I thought what he meant was being able to read and write. I later discovered that it included a whole lot more— “education” included everything from “sibilisasyon” or “pagiging disente” to honesty, integrity, loyalty, patriotism and a whole lot more collectively known as “breeding." Does it mean that all literate people have “breeding"?

First, let’s define literacy. UNICEF defines adult literacy rate as the percentage of persons aged 15 and older able to read and write. But there is such a thing as functional literacy (as compared to simple literacy), which includes the ability to compute. National Statistics Office figures show that in 1994, only 83.8 percent were functionally literate. This meant that for every 9 literate Filipinos, 1 is functionally illiterate or lacked numeracy skills.

In practical terms, the great majority can read, write and do math. Perhaps a lesser but still significantly higher number of these functionally literate Filipinos are able to work and afford cars. In addition to cars, there are also public transport and delivery vehicles plying the streets. If traffic can get so heavy, the streets so grimy and the air so filthy from vehicle exhaust in densely populated areas, then this is probably true.

According to a study made by Nielsen Global Survey, 47 percent of Filipino households do not own cars and of this number, 79 percent actually expressed the intention to acquire one in the next two years.

This means that more car owners would be occupying slots in car parks, especially those usually found in mall basements. I have no statistics on the correlation between literacy and the cost or value of a vehicle, so I can’t tell whether owners of expensive vehicles are necessarily literate—functionally or otherwise.

I do not understand how difficult it is for literate people, whether or not they can add, divide or subtract—to comply when requested to park their cars facing walls. Drivers who ignore those signs often take longer to park their cars as they have to back up and make sure they do not scrape or park too close to the next vehicle. Whether they are owners or drivers, they put their “sibilisasyon” in doubt.

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.