Cause Effect Essay Illiteracy Definition

What is the meaning of illiteracy?

Illiteracy is a state whereby one is unable to read and write. In its simplest form, it can be defined as lack of any or sufficient education.

Sometimes people who have had very basic education also experience challenges in reading and writing.

Illiteracy can also mean ignorance or the lack of knowledge in a specific subject. For example, a person may have gone to school but does not know how to operate a computer. Such an individual has no literacy in computer and is known as computer illiterate. Nearly every job advertised requires one to have computer literacy due to the digitization of most processes at the workplace.

A mistake in reading or writing that is seen to be characteristic of an illiterate person is also referred to as illiteracy. For this definition, a speech or letter that has several errors can be said to be full of illiteracies.

Functional illiteracy, on the other hand, is used to describe a situation where a person has writing and reading skills considered inadequate to perform employment duties that demand reading and writing skills that go beyond the basic level.

The challenges of illiteracy cut across:
*Geographical location

What are the causes of illiteracy?

There are so many reasons why an individual can be illiterate. These are some of the causes of the inability to read or write:

1. Illiteracy among parents: Many illiterate parents do not put much emphasis on the importance of education. Several of those born to parents who can neither read nor write end up being illiterate. This is especially true in remote areas where many people in the older generation have not gone through formal education. The reverse is true for those who have been brought up by parents with an elaborate educational background. They realize the necessity of taking their children to school and therefore ensure that they receive a good education.

2. Lack of family support: This can be the cause of illiteracy more so where a child has difficulty reading or writing because of dyslexia. In a situation where the family does not understand the child’s condition, it may simply be assumed that he or she is not a bright person and maybe school is not meant for everyone. Supportive family members help a child overcome reading disability and go through formal education with minimal challenges.

3. Unemployment of the educated: Some people believe that the only reason someone should go to school is so that he or she can get a good job and make a good life. Without the promise of employment, education is not a necessity to them. In a country where many of the educated are unemployed, there may not be enough motivation for the illiterate to go to school. After all, they reckon, why would you spend so much money paying for your education when there is no promise of a return on investment? In countries where those who have gone to school have good jobs and reasonable incomes, there may be sufficient motivating factors for people to get rid of illiteracy.

4. Lack of awareness: In places where several members of the local population do not understand why it is important for them to go to school, the level of illiteracy may be high. Disinterest in the benefits of formal learning can also be caused by lack of awareness on the importance of going to school. The number of illiterate people in urban areas tends to be lower than that of those in rural areas. People in towns are more aware of the need to eliminate illiteracy, the challenges that arise from lack of education and the social benefits of being literate compared to those who live in the remote place.

5. Social barriers: Many social barriers such as restrictions on girls’ education in some societies lead to illiteracy among the affected segment of the population. Education of the girl child has been an issue in some parts of the world leading to the formation of different organizations focused on championing the education of women. Forcing children into marriage is another social issue that causes illiteracy in the community. Family or social norms where female education is not allowed also causes illiteracy. In societies where the caste system is still in force, those who fall into the wrong caste may not get the opportunity to go to school. They are condemned at birth to remain illiterate.

6. Lack of affordable education facilities: Those who live in very remote areas with few or no education facilities may remain illiterate. The nearest school might be found several miles away. Instead of going through the tiresome process of walking for long distances on a daily basis just to go to school, many choose to stay at home. Lack of access to education facilities in rural areas has contributed a lot to the high number of illiterate people in these places.

7. Poverty: Poor parents with low incomes find it difficult to pay school fees. They are forced to choose between providing basic needs such as food, shelter and clothing and taking their children to school. In countries where basic education is not free, the number of children who do not go to school tends to be higher compared to places where basic education is free and mandatory.

What are the consequences and effects of illiteracy?

What are the consequences of Illiteracy? How does illiteracy affect the life of an individual and the society? These are some of the effects and consequences of the inability to read and write:

1. Hinders economic and social progress: Illiteracy greatly inhibits the economic and social progress of an individual as well as that of the country. Education gives one the power to seek opportunities and pursue them. People who have gone to school or are well educated have the expertise and intelligence to make good investment decisions and drive the growth agenda of a nation. Illiteracy, therefore, hinders the development of the country.

2. Poverty: Illiteracy leads to poverty. Education equips one with the right skills and expertise for gainful employment. A person who has not gone to school and is unable to read and write may experience a hard time in finding a job especially in a world where the corporate environment is increasingly in demand for employees who are well-trained and can cope with an industry driven by technology. Without a reasonable source of income, taking care of the dependent family members may prove to be difficult.

3. Child marriage: This is also a problem that may come about due to illiteracy. Parents may fail to recognize the benefits of taking children to school to learn how to read and write. Instead, the girl child may be forced into early marriage. It may also be a means of raising money through dowry payments to support the rest of the family members. In a way, the girl child is viewed as a property in some cultures. They can be traded to help the family make ends meet. The practice is especially rampant in areas where a lot of people have not gone to school.

4. Difficult life: An illiterate person can lead a difficult life in so many ways. The inability to find gainful employment can subject one to a life of poverty with poor living conditions. There can be a lack of basic necessities such as good shelter, clothing and decent meals. Illiteracy can also make one a societal misfit more so in areas where many people have gone to school and have the ability to read and write. Such a person can be the center of ridicule and suffer from stress and low self-esteem. Without the ability to read and write, it can be hard to read instructions which in some cases may have dire consequences. They say ignorance is bliss but that is not true when a person’s life is on the line.

5. Social crimes: Through education, a person can cultivate some civic sense and develop behavior patterns that are socially acceptable. Illiterate people may engage in unlawful acts in the society due to lack of employment or simply as a result of being uncultured. In countries where the number of those who have not gone to school is high, social crime levels also tend to be high.

6. Underpayment, Underemployment, Unemployment: We live in a world where the job market favors people who are properly educated with useful skills to drive company growth. Many illiterate people are thus underpaid, underemployed or unemployed. They are unable to earn income and in many cases perform a lot of duties with little pay.

7. Intergenerational Illiteracy: The issue of illiteracy can cut across generations within a family. It can become cyclic in such a way that even the third or fourth generation family members suffer the same fate. Intergenerational Illiteracy mainly comes about because education is given little to no value in the family setup. The children that come along will thus see illiteracy as the norm and not make any effort to learn how to read and write.

What are the possible solutions to stop or control illiteracy?

1. Free education: The provision of free education in schools, colleges, and universities by the government can play a major role in reducing the level of illiteracy in a country by getting more people to school. Since some people fail to attend school due to lack of money to pay for the fees, offering free education can increase the number of people attending school and subsequently reduce illiteracy levels within a society.

2. Awareness: Creating awareness about the importance of education can help people understand why they need to go to school. Non-governmental organizations, government agencies, and other concerned parties should put in place deliberate measures to create awareness in the society and reduce the number of people who are unable to read and write.

3. Grants: Offering grants, subsidies, and scholarships can reduce the financial burden that parents and students bear in paying for education. It would make it possible for students to learn without interrupting their education due to lack of school fees. Parents would also channel the money that would have been used to pay for school fees towards other income generating projects. The cost of financing education can prove to be too high especially for those who live in poverty.

4. Late night classes: Working people can opt for late night classes. In this way, they can learn even as they earn income through their daytime jobs.

5. Free books: The government and different foundations can offer free books in schools to encourage students to develop a reading culture. Offering free books can also reduce the financial burden placed on parents in the provision of textbooks.

6. Digitization: Since we live in the age of technology and information, creating digital platforms for reading and learning can help reduce illiteracy in the society. It can also help take care of the challenge of shortage of education facilities. Digital libraries can provide a good platform for those who live far away from urban centers to expand their knowledge base and become more informed.

7. Lower educational cost: Even though education has its rewards, it is very costly to finance. Many graduates usually leave school with huge debts in the form of student loans. It makes saving and investing difficult. The cost of university education has been a key political and social issue in many nations. By lowering the cost of education, the government can make it easier for people to study up to the highest level possible.


The value of education cannot be underestimated. Many people like to think of it merely as a process to gain skills and expertise necessary for the job market. Even though education gives an individual a competitive advantage in the job market, that is not all that it does. Going to schools plays a major role in the mental as well as social development of a person. The lessons learned and the experiences that a person goes through while in school prepares him or her for life in the society. One can learn problem-solving skills and develop social intelligence necessary to overcome everyday life challenges. Illiteracy, therefore, has no room in the modern society. The more the number of people who have gone to school, the better the community. Everyone should aspire to be educated and gain knowledge because of the important benefits of being literate.

Category: Social Issues in India

  • connor 2 weeks ago

    I love this site

  • unknow 2 weeks ago

    this will definitely will help me review for the act test

  • no one 2 weeks ago

    its cool

  • Unknown 2 weeks ago

    this helped my English class (6th grade) thanks Mrs.Wilborn!!

  • Unknown 7 weeks ago

    This seriously helped me with my essay/speech ideas!

    Thanks so much Letter Pile!

  • mn_heydari5038 2 months ago

    these topics are very fantastic. they helped me to write a great essay and, so these topics make writers to write a good essay more about cause and effect

  • Robbert Dillard 2 months ago

    This is very useful, I learned lots.

  • Jimmy 2 months ago

    Thanks this helped

  • Abbie 4 months ago

    This was extremely helpful! Thank you so much!!

  • Ashley 4 months ago

    Thanks for the great ideas to point me in the right direction for my next essay!

  • Lil 5 months ago

    This was great for me because I had to write an essay about some kind of topic with a cause and an effect and this website gave me some really good ideas, Thank You!

  • Virginia Kearney 9 months agofrom United States

    Sophia--I'm so glad that this helped you. I especially enjoy teaching Chinese students. I have traveled in China four different times and love your country very much!

  • Sophia 9 months ago

    I am a Chinese student and I think your sharing did help me a lot. Thank you !

  • domonique 12 months ago

    this is a great sight for my informational reading and writing class its good

  • Hooriya 12 months ago

    Hi thanks for helping me

  • deeksha 17 months ago

    these topics are really good.. i used some of these topics for my projects and got great marks.. i got A+ in all my projects , i am in 7th grade....

  • Sourav Rana 23 months ago

    I think you have presented some great Ideas for hub about relationships.

  • Hugh Johnson 24 months ago

    These topics had a BIG impact on my life. Thanks for your LARGE ammount of tips.

  • John 24 months ago

    These topics really helped me for school

  • Ruby 24 months agofrom United States

    Creative idea for a hub, what was your case and effect for making it lol

  • BOB 2 years ago

    WOW this is super great to look up stuff for an assignment.

  • Joe 2 years ago

    Awesome topics thanks a million

  • Dwight Goliday Jr 2 years agofrom East Saint Louis

    Wow. There are a lot things that cause and effect. Very informative write.

  • Virginia Kearney 2 years agofrom United States

    Thanks Zakeycia and YoLex. My students have come up with most of these topics through the years and now this is my most visited article so they must have done a good job! I think it got over 2000 views one day last week!

  • YoLex 2 years ago

    This is awesome I wish I'd found this hub before I graduated college lol! Great work!

  • Zakeycia Dickens 2 years ago

    I have a cause and effect essay to type for my English class. I was having a hard time coming up with a topic. Your website and topic suggestions were very helpful. Thank you.

  • Rasheedah Abdul-Hakeem 2 years ago

    Thanks. Great topics.

  • James Packard 3 years agofrom Columbia, Missouri

    What a great hub! Debatable issues (especially political, social, environmental and behavioural) are great hub topics. They are good to write about to do research and clear up one's own viewpoint, but they also get people talking, and also spark very needed discussion. Thanks for sharing.

  • Liza Treadwell Esq aka Liza Lugo JD 3 years agofrom New York, NY

    I love this one, VirginiaLynne. Your hubs are so valuable to students and professional writers. Cause and effect papers are among the most interesting to read.

    I voted this hub "up," "useful," and "interesting." I am bookmarking this hub for future reference. I know I'll be using it! Keep up the excellent work here.

  • Marilyn L Davis 3 years agofrom Georgia

    Good afternoon, Virginia; excellent examples for all categories. Well done. ~Marilyn

  • Virginia Kearney 3 years agofrom United States

    Here is another place to look for topic ideas:

  • Virginia Kearney 3 years agofrom United States

    Hi Gertrude--These two words are ones that are often confused. Affect also means "to produce an effect upon" as well as "to influence." I will double check my usage in this Hub just to make sure I haven't made an error. Thanks!

  • Gertrude McFuzz 3 years ago

    These are great topics. I just have one comment. Sometimes you use "effect" when you should use "affect."

    affect = influence - usually a verb

    effect= result - usually a noun

    effect= cause - not used that often - verb

  • Shamim Rajabali 3 years agofrom Texas

    This will come in handy for my English class. Thanks.

  • ANCY 3 years ago

    I Love it very much

  • rakesh ranjana 3 years ago

    Social causes are growing up in lot more ways, knowing it and having a knowledge about it through this site, will help a lot in many ways for people to understand there relationship and social problems

  • MariaBrown 4 years ago

    Great hub! I like your ideas, it is something different & innovative. Vote up!

  • DjeLke 4 years ago

    Thanks! This is helpful.... Vote up.

  • Virginia Kearney 4 years agofrom United States

    Sumnerswett--I teach MLA format because that is used by most American colleges in their English departments. However, you are very right to point out that APA and Chicago and other formats are used in different types of courses. I think considering cause and effect is sometimes a bit confusing because it depends on where you view the start of the situation. Often a cause creates an effect, which causes another situation. Sometimes it is hard to pull them apart. That is why I usually like to call this a "speculating about causes" essay, because we can't always definitively determine the absolute cause, but we can always speculate and argue for the most important causes, or the most important effects that we see in a situation.

  • Sumner Swett 4 years agofrom Owls Head Maine

    Okay so cause and effect essays are written in different formats, but let me say in my college profession for the essays to be written were to be in APA format, and it is interesting when researching and writing whether it is from information you have researched or if it free lance. I like to research topics before writing and also note taking is effective. The cause is what causes the situation and the effect is what you have to take into consideration to the cause as we all know it.

  • Kimberly Lake 4 years agofrom California

    Great topics! Voted up and shared.

  • Virginia Kearney 4 years agofrom United States

    Leidy--That is a great essay topic. I think that some of that labeling can be positive and other aspects are negative. It can encourage students to believe that they are capable, but it can discourage them by making them think that they don't need to work hard, or that if they don't achieve a high grade on everything, they have failed.

  • Seth Tomko 4 years agofrom Macon, GA

    A good and diverse collection of topics. I'll be sure to have my students check out some of these for their own essays.

  • Annie Miller 4 years agofrom Wichita Falls, Texas

    Very interesting and in depth Hub. I am passing this along and saving it, as well!

  • Chris Achilleos 4 years ago

    Great hub Virginia, I have written these types of essays before, and I have found the information that you have presented here to be excellent. Thank you for sharing. Voted up and useful!

    Chris Achilleos

  • Virginia Kearney 4 years agofrom United States

    Thanks so much Carol! You are always an encouragement.

  • carol stanley 4 years agofrom Arizona

    This is something to save when trying to come up with new writing ideas. Great hub...Going to pass this along and of course vote up.

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