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Educated? or just literate!

Posted by Rewa Smriti on April 19, 2009

Until recently, I used to feel very inspired when I saw the growing literacy curve in India or when somebody working for literacy campaigns reported success in terms of such benchmarks. But slowly I have come to realise that literacy is not enough (or is it even necessary to this extent?); the need of human being is education, not just literacy, and literacy is not education.

One can be literate but not educated or one can be educated though not literate!

I feel literacy is a small tool in helping one getting educated. Literacy is just a tool to read, write, count and calculate, but it doesn’t directly address the need of the human being. The basic need of human being is to understand oneself and his/her relation to every other entity in the existence which differentiates him or her from an animal. If literacy helps him/her to understand and express his/her understanding, then it is a virtue otherwise if it only helps fill on’s stomach then it is needless as animals can also fill their stomach without being literate, and if it helps exploiting others be it human or the rest of nature, then it is a vice. We can see that today the literate people are more responsible for the damage of this planet than the illiterate, so today it has become a vice for us.

I guess, most of the people are lietrate but not educated. One can live a hi-fi life but that doesn’t mean that the person is educated because life is all about “how we can live happily with secure mind“. Needless to say, the way literate people are behaving with each other living in so called educated society, should not be considered as educated! People are able to get as best as degrees but these degree don’t prove that they are educated. So I suggest we should now start working for education in true sense of the world, and not just limit us to literacy. Again, this doesn’t imply that one should abandon programs of literacy but rather complement it with human consciousness to make the earth a better place to live in.

I think we should have a good discussion on the topic “what is Education?“…and “what is the difference between education and literacy?” Are we educated?…or just literate! I would like to know the views or opinion on it from my dear readers and commentators. Your comments are most welcome here.


40 Responses to “Educated? or just literate!”

  1. Hmmm Rewa jee,
    Nice post. . . . I welcome your thought. Not merely the absence of illiteracy is the token of development rather the education is the real parameter of it. But in fact without literacy it cant be brought in figure.One thing is also very tough to define the scale of education as i feel .Dhoni is not well educated but man of quality and skill but as far as the matter of education not more than me but i have no existence infront of him .Its rather a comparative term.Thousands of the beautiful girl will have temptation to marry with him but not with me. . . . . So merely the education is not everything in the present era. Its the skill and the quality thats the important thing. So just develope the quality. . . .

  2. If an illiterate person is capable to change the scenario of the world i will surely salute him . . . .

  3. hi…. visit my blog… ur blog is greet…

  4. mike said

    I am not literate and yet I can type words, so the sky is the limit

  5. Nidhi said

    What is Education?in a vry real sense its remain a big qust mark.v hav 2 understnd d real meaning n aim of education.

  6. well as per UNESCO’s guidelines in countries like india under education for all there are three stages :
    UEE[Universalisation of elementary education]
    URE[universal retention]
    UQE[universalisation of Quality Education]

    so we are able to attain enrolment figures but now comes the Question of Quality in education? so folks educational objectives are structured around three aspects of a child,
    1. Head [Cognitive domain ] ]
    2. Heart [affective domain]
    3. Hand [ Psychomotor Domain]
    In a sound instructional[education] system there must be a balanced paedagogy to support knowledge transection.I stress that it MUST incorporate inquisitiveness of a child to understand the phenomenona of world through his direct experience. thus teaching must be a tripolar process incorporating teacher-learner,learner-learner and learner-environment interactions dynamically.Further a learning manager must diagnose the learning inhibitions of a child which obstructs his learning process.So teaching strategy must ensure active involvement of every child in a participatory manner treating the learners as investigators of knowledge! than the captive of a classrooms.Long ago Evan iilich[1970] strived for deschool society where learning proceeds in a natural environment.Knowledge systems must essentially prepare a learner to carry out quest,research and investigation.I have spent considerable time on attaining this state and have comeout with results which are reflectyed internationally in the recently held
    global seminar on knowledge systems by UNESCO at Paris. My paper can be traced by copying this URL on google
    http://portal.unesco.org/education/en/ev.php-URL_ID=58058&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html scrolling down
    Need of the hour is to teach a child ‘learning to learn and not ‘to learn’by this I mean that a child is also having equal access to information and we have to teach him to choose correct information and build his knowledge.Regards
    Dr Vishwas saxena

  7. Kiran said

    Education in its real sense is about human development and a person should have a social sense of right and wrong. To to be able to find the inherent connections between you nd the society you live in. Education is to understand the human value.

    we know that there is something wrong with our system of education.That’s why our education system is totally depend on words and jobs.

  8. Nidhi said

    education is d proces of moulding a person.its nt only means acquiring som degree certificates.jis din ek am admi dusre am admi ke sath respect se bat karna sikh jaega,beggars aur taj mei jane walo ka difference mit jaega us din education ka value logo ko smajh mei aa jaega.nd peple will undrstnd wat ideally is education for?

  9. shafi said

    The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. – Alvin Toffler

  10. abhishekdas said

    Very much true….Just reading, writing and arithmetic is not enough,we need the quality education…..When we talk about quality education, we must talk about both morality and technicality…..Moral education is necessary but not sufficient…We need to have a balance…


  11. Lucky said

    I m in hurry ………..will share my views( u know its always weird frm ma side) !!!

    Anyway thanks for coming on my blog after a long time …..

  12. If an illiterate person is capable to change the scenario of the world i will surely salute him.


    Do we need to change the world? We do not need a person to change the world. We shouldn’t try to change the world, but we should act to change ourself, and all we need is better understanding.


  13. Kiran said

    @Abhishek and abhay,

    First of all, can you define the term education? Then we can talk about the quality of education? How do you define education?

  14. Dr.Abhay said

    No i can’t. . . I can’t define. Ask this question to any arts student. They will define better. . . . . I already said that i do not have scale to define education. Today money and power also makes a man well educated. No parameter. . . . . Sab ulta pulta. . . . .

  15. A few months back i was reading a blog article on the same topic and i was impressed by the content of the article. I think it would add to the value of this post and the ongoing discussion to give some part of that article here:

    “Today, education lies in a heap in the corner of the classroom, its essence distorted and its meaning grossly misinterpreted. Many of us tend to confuse literacy with education. We think that going to school makes a person educated. Literacy is being able to read and write. Education is much more than just that. To be educated is to be equipped with the ability of superior understanding of concepts, of problems and solutions, of development and progress. While many of us have been subjected to education, very few have understood its true purpose. It is not about solving x + (y)2 = 3589. It is about how to approach such a problem. If education was only about preparing students to appear for competitive examinations, then teaching Maths, Physics and Chemistry would suffice. Why then are we being taught subjects like History, Civics, Social Studies, Literature, Economics? Both schools and students have missed out on the essence of education. Since the onset of technological developments, the emphasis has shifted from morals and values to science and more science. Teachers have ceased being mentors. They are now, only teachers, who are hired and paid to teach and produce state toppers and district toppers. The competition is far from healthy, it is ruthless. Today it is important to know calculus than to know to respect. How many children today are taught about manners, respect, dignity, cleanliness, culture and hospitality? The concept of ‘Athithi Devobhava’ is almost extinct (Must mention the ad brought about Indian tourism Dept..great initiative! ). And the result – professionals and executives who don’t have the slightest idea about what values are.

    Today we have become to selfish. We can’t think beyond our own lives.
    We keep our cubicle clean and
    Dirty the streets

    We walk with grace in our work place and
    Barge through people in the trains

    We tip the waiter in hundreds in front of friends and
    Feel happy bargaining for a single Rupee with the grocery vendors

    We remark “How unclean this country is” and
    Just contribute to the dirtiness of their environment

    We give lectures on how to improve India and
    Evade from paying their taxes.

    We simply do not care, we don’t care about who trips and falls down, about who banged on the pillar and hurt himself, about who was hit by a speeding car and lay in a pool of blood, about the old woman who comes begging for a little circular coin called a rupee, about a bunch of blind people crossing the road and knowing not which side to take, about the little kid selling cotton buds or the boy in the tea stall who cleans glasses that we threw away!!?? Why don’t we care about it? Why do we have such an attitude towards others? Because we haven’t been taught to care. We are simply UNEDUCATED LITERATES. That’s where it lies – the whole problem. What you are taught makes what you are.

    What can be done to repair the situation?

    Conditioning, it’s called. Conditioning a person’s attitude with positive thoughts is the solution.

    Education – schools – kindergarten. Start at the root.

    Morals and values have to be given as much importance as other subjects. That this subject be taught to enlighten the student, not just let him/her know – I suggest other subjects be given less importance!
    Students be taken to heritage villages and other historically important spots on field trips
    Practicals for such subjects( of morals and values) be conducted.
    For instance, Have a mock situation or a mock drill and ask the student to react to it.
    Identify the students’ talents at a very early stage and work towards the converting it into a skill –
    Definitely a frustrated individual, who is forced to learn things he doesn’t like, wouldn’t give a damn about anything else.
    Students should be taught the concept of equality.
    Social Work should be made mandatory in school rather than being a specialized subject in college.
    Free education to all children, irrespective of caste, creed, religion. All religious instances be omitted from history and all these omitted parts be included in specialization in college (if necessary).

    And the last —

    That teachers be mentors and guides and not just teachers. For they shape the future of the country.

    And that students be educated, true to its meaning, for they are the future…… of the world!

    —- Today I really feel like saying it—- “

  16. Abhishek said

    @ Kiran
    Education! Well…
    Education is a process of humanization, Education is a process of transformation, Education is a process of building right values and ethics, Education is a process that makes us morally upright, socially committed and spiritually matured. But at the same time Education is also a process of knowledge building, Education is also a process of improving the quality of people’s life, Education is also a ladder to grow, and Education is also a tool that brings prosperity.
    That’s why I mentioned the necessity of both morality and technicality.
    If education transforms us in a human being, education also provides us the opportunity to learn and earn.
    As author rightly said,”literacy is just a small tool in helping one getting educated”. We cannot compare the literacy and education on the same scale. I can say education is a Universal set and literacy is a subset of education. Literacy is a first step to get an opportunity to learn more.
    “One can be literate but not educated”- True, because literacy does not ensure the all gradients of education but “one can be educated though not literate”- May not be true, because only moral education is not sufficient though it is necessary.

  17. Amit said

    People are literate, but they have lost their humanity so they behave like uneducated and uncivilized.

  18. Nidhi said

    “Today money and power also makes a man well educated.”

    true..d litrate men who go to redlight area wat r de?bt v cal dem wel educated bcos de spnd lots of money on prostitutes.

  19. Namste,

    I am agree with you. Today the only meaning of education or better education is earning a lot of money…..and we are doing anything for money. Weather it right or wrong.

    Now this time we have to be educated enough to understand our relationship with humans and nature too. We have to be educated enough to recognized ourselves. And again we have to be educated enough to be grown up as social humans from dumb social animals.

    Warm Regards
    Sushil Kumaar

  20. rohit said

    hi rewa
    itne sare logo ne intni badia baat kahi hai so ab kia kahu…..

    Per ek baat hai….illiterate hone ka matlab yeh nahi hota ki educated logo se woh kam hote hai…..Kahi jayda samjdhaar hote hai….kahi jayda knowledge hoti hai unke pass…..


  21. Shanta said

    वेद विविध विचाररूप रत्नों के रत्नाकार हैं। मानव के लिए उपयोगी समस्त ज्ञान विज्ञान, सदुपयोग व सत्प्रेरणाएं इनमें निहित हैं। अत: इन्हे गुरु-शिष्य की आचार संहिता भी कहा जा सकता है। वेदों का अध्ययन करते हुए हमें वैदिक वांङ्गमय में शिक्षक- शिक्षार्थी के संदर्भ में शिक्षा शास्त्र के कई उपयोगी सूत्र प्राप्त होते है, जो आज भी शैक्षणिक परिवेश को सुदृढ़ बनाने में महत्वपूर्ण भूमिका निभा सकते है। इसमें सबसे अहम भूमिका शिक्षक की होती है। अथर्ववेद के ब्रह्मचर्य सूक्त में आचार्य को वरुण, सोम, औषधि और पय: कहा गया है। अत: शिक्षक के अंदर बालक मे व्याप्त कुसंस्कारों को समाप्त कर सकने की साम‌र्थ्य होनी चाहिए, क्योंकि विद्यार्थी यदि कोई कुसंस्कार लेकर आया है तो उसे समाप्त किए बिना वह उसका निर्माण नहीं कर सकता है। शिक्षक की दृष्टि भी वरुण की भांति पैनी होनी चाहिए। उसे छात्रों की प्रत्येक गतिविधि का परिचय होना चाहिए। शिक्षक चंद्र के समान सौम्य, आकर्षक व प्रिय होना चाहिए। शिक्षक की अगली विशेषता उसका ‘औषधि’ तथा पय: होने से तात्पर्य है कि जैसे औषधि रोगों को दूर करती है वैसे ही शिक्षक छात्र के शारीरिक तथा मानसिक रोगों को दूर करने वाला हो। वह केवल छात्र को पुस्तकीय ज्ञान ही प्रदान न करे, बल्कि उस पर छात्र के शारीरिक तथा नैतिक निर्माण का उत्तरदायित्व भी है।

    शिक्षक के ‘पय:’ होने का अर्थ है कि जैसे दूध पुष्टिवर्धक होता है वैसे ही शिक्षक को सर्वतोमुखी पुष्टि करने वाला होना चाहिये। शिक्षण शैली से संबंधित सूत्र के अनुसार शिक्षण पद्धति नीरस न होकर सरस होनी चाहिए। इस संदर्भ में ‘संश्रुतेन गमेमाहि मा श्रुतेन विराधिषि’ सूक्त के अनुसार शिक्षक को चाहिए कि जैसे प्रत्यंचा से दोनों धनुष्कोटियों को तान दिया जाता है वैसे ही अपनी वाणी से शिष्य की बुद्धि में विषय को ऐसा तान दें, स्पष्ट कर दें कि वह कभी विस्मृत न हो। छोटे बालकों के लिए यह शैली विशेष रूप से उपादेय है। सैद्धांतिक ज्ञान के साथ क्रियात्मक ज्ञान की शिक्षा भी दी जानी चाहिए। शिक्षा का वैदिक उद्देश्य यह है कि छात्र गुरु के सान्निध्य में रहकर शारीरिक व मानसिक विकास करे। इस प्रकार शैक्षिक परिवेश को सुदृढ़ बनाने के समस्त तत्व वैदिक वांङ्गमय में विद्यमान है। [पूनम मदान]


  22. Rewa jee,
    ” To change the world ” is not in simple sense to change the world . I want to say to bring something new concept /discovery /research that may give benefite to the world .And if the same can be done by an illiterate person or uneducated person ,I will surely Salam him. . . . But not to those well educated person who live for himself only. . .

  23. Lucky said

    हरई शिष्य धन ,शोक न हरई , सो गुरु घोर नरक में परही १
    मात पिता ,बाल्कयी बुलावई , उदर भरे सो धरम सिखावई ११

    गुरु शिष्य भई,अंध के लेखा ,एक न सुनही ,एक नहीं देखा …….. I think Tulsi das has written almost every thing …….. !!!

    Education – The field of study that is concerned with the pedagogy of teaching and learning.

    Literate – having knowledge or skill in a specified field

    => I feel literacy is a small tool in helping one getting educated

    I think words to be interchanged …education is a tool 😉

    forgive me I m drunk …..but keep visiting http://www.sandesh.co.nr

  24. Nidhi said

    was tulsidas educated? 😉

  25. Lucky said


    na tum hi padi likhi ho …….tulsi das ji to gawar they ..!!!

    see how u r taking his name ………Adidas ke aage ‘ji’ lagane mein sharam na aati ….par tulsidas ke aage na lagana 😉

  26. rohit said

    Hi rewa
    madam Aage bhi kuch likhye….Kiya Sochte hi rahana hai ab….


  27. Nidhi said

    “गुरु शिष्य भई,अंध के लेखा ,एक न सुनही ,एक नहीं देखा …….. I think Tulsi das has written almost every thing …….. !!!”


    tujhe sharm kyon ai tulsidas ke nam mei JI lagane mei???? 😛
    he hd writen somwhre dt shudras nd women r to b beaten lik a drum or a beast.hw cud an educated prson write such way?he wsnt educated bt he ws just a poet!

  28. Nidhi said

    “na tum hi padi likhi ho …….tulsi das ji to gawar they ..!!!”

    ee line ke dekh ke hamar atma khush ho gaeil.sache kah tani hamar jiyara gadgad ho gaeil.ab ka kahin bahut kuch likhal chaha tani.. 😉

  29. sajal said

    chalking out a proper education system which can ensure education of minds rather than just making them literate,is one of the biggest challenges of the modern society…minimum that a responsible person can do is to try to make a difference on himself and his immediate surroundings…if we realise what the virtues of true education should be,try and inculcate in ourselves and wherever else we can…


  30. Anish said

    We have big big degrees,but don’t have proper education…nyways well written post 🙂 …..

  31. Ranjeeta said

    There are three levels to being called educated – the cognitive (mind) affective (feeling) and psychomotor (doing). Most of our education is cognitive which means you understand facts, problems, and ideas. You have learnt about poverty and the poor, you have the data and the figures on them.but you dont feel their plight. You can not empathize with their predicament because you happen to be born well to do and with opportunities. so animal silent can be treated as educated.

  32. Ranjeeta said


    How educated are we?

  33. […] To begin, I must say that to understand this particular video, “you don’t need to have an intellectual brain or any academic qualification, but you definitely need to have a heart to hold close to your brain!” He replies, “aur yehan pe bahut logo ke paas ye nahi hai, isliye sirf video se kuch nahi hoga, unko kuch samjhana bhi padta hai, usko realize karana bhi padata hai”, so he insisted me to write something instead of putting video only. Yea, indeed, he is right! As I have mentioned in one of my previous posts that, “one can be literate but not educated or one can be educated though not literate!” […]

  34. Akshay Goyal said

    One can be literate but not educated or one can be educated though not literate!

    Well said, indeed. I would like to thnx for the efforts you have put in writing this blog. I am hoping the same high-grade blog post from you in future also. Actually your creative writing skills has inspired me to get my own blog now. 🙂

  35. Lopa Sarkar said

    The article brought light on the root problem in true sense. The definition of ‘being literate’ in India would not be sufficient to meet the educational status. This sort of literacy is not much of use which doesn’t ‘add real value to the self-realisation’?

  36. there is a very fine line between being literate and educated , somebody who has read books and can write is literate but if the person can use that knowledge in his life in thw right way , that is educated………reading on a pack of cigarettes “smoking is injurious to health” is literate but really believing that it really is injurious to health is educated …………..u know about something but you still deny it it is not educated

  37. […] The second false assumption is that all so called good city upbringing provide a set of education and behavior. Nevertheless, one’s upbringing is not a genuine explanation for their behavior versus an excuse not to take responsibility for their wrong actions. Education knows no bound whether you acquire it from a big city like Delhi or renowned institutes or from a tiny school of a village.  Deep down, No matter what your upbringing, the essence of education is, having it, to use it! […]

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    see here for best news on heatingandcoolingservices.org/} around

  39. md said

    sometimes educated person may not exercise moral values for personal gain/ on that case what do u say?

  40. md said

    is it possible to have one opinion about education?

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