Often overlooked, how many of us perceive literacy as just another overused word – especially in terms of education? It’s not an understatement to say that literacy is the key to knowledge, freedom, and power. It provides information, skills and confidence which are necessary for individuals. Literacy also brings a sense of self-worth and achievement to those who gain it.
Every year, September 8 is commemorated as International Literacy Day to raise awareness on the importance of literacy for individuals and society. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declares literacy and education as part of human rights. Thus, today is an opportunity to rethink our take on literacy, from its power to its impact.
The World Economic Forum noted that there are six types of foundational literacy, consisting of literacy in words and letters, numeracy, scientific, information and communication technology or digital literacy, financial, and cultural literacy and citizenship. In this 21st century, literacy for words is still the most basic skill to be proficient in.
As the one of the most fundamental literacy, let’s explore the 3 main reasons why we need to optimize our literacy in words and letters.
“The pen is mightier than sword”
Have you ever felt moved by something as simple as a poem or a song? So much so that it could affect your feelings throughout the day? Or maybe you’ve read a passage from a book that changed your life to this day? Perhaps you might have also heard a message from someone you love that makes your heart bloom?
There is no denying the power of words. It does not have to be all about strength, the power of words can also be experienced from simple humane interactions. A psychological research conducted by Cayubit in 2021 to a group of students showed that expressing your feelings result in improved happiness and life satisfaction. This is intelligible, as humans have always tried to express their feelings and communicate – from symbols and drawings on stone walls to black ink on white paper and now digital screens.
Here in Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) Sinar Mas, we believe in the power of words and writing, which became the start of the campaign called Ayo Menulis Bersama SiDU, a program that aims to improve the competence of writing since an early age. APP Sinar Mas and SiDU is committed to be part of the continuous improvement of national education by empowering Indonesian children through the habit of writing.
Excel in Life: Career & Relationships
The Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs mentions the five categories of human needs that motivates an individual's behavior, namely physiological needs, safety needs, love and belonging needs, esteem needs, and self-actualization needs. All of which refers to our need to interact and communicate in life. How else are we going to communicate if we cannot master literacy in words and letters?
Literacy for words and letters is a vital skill in the workplace, as well as at home and in everyday life to help us to communicate. Literacy develops thinking skills and enhances information processing skills, enabling people to understand materials and collaborate more effectively with others.
An idea kept inside will never reach any goal, while an idea conveyed inaccurately will not hit the expected goal. Keep in mind that the power of words means that we are also called to be accountable with what we say and write. Let your life flourish with clearly delivered messages that is derived from wisdom.
Explore the Future
Expanding your knowledge and competencies can never do you wrong. Going back to the 6 fundamental literacies, honing your skills in each area will help you have a clearer view on life. Moreover, being fluent in literacy aids us when it comes to setting our plans and goals for the future.
Literacy is an important factor that benefits not only us as individuals, but also to society. While we examine the role of literacy in shaping our identity and finding empowerment, we cannot forget its potential to break down cultural barriers and enhance communication.
In 2022, the theme for International Literacy Day is "Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces", which aims to examine the various existing literacy learning spaces in facilitating learning pathways. Through various daily activities, each of us needs to realize the importance of literacy starting from our closest touchpoints – be it spaces as well as the media we use. Let this day be an opportunity to understand the importance of literacy and implement it in our daily lives. Here’s to a better us, better future.