Random Thoughts: Educated Illiterates

Confusing title for a post, isn’t it? Well as confusing as the title may be, the set of people who are the main reason behind this post are far more confusing. Have you ever come across someone who has been educated for almost 20 years of his/ her life in English, but can’t hold a conversation in English? If this comes as a shock to you, you’re definitely blessed (consider yourself really fortunate) to be around people who do not belong to this category but trust me, they are large in number and not that difficult to spot. Also, I’m not referring to students who’re from the most remote villages but students who are from Mumbai, have a college degree and still (in my opinion) are as illiterate as a person can be.

Imagine these people refrain from watching English movies because they don’t UNDERSTAND the language. They watch movies or other media with subtitles on and their life just goes on. And there are MANY more facets to people who can be termed as educated illiterates. Imagine people who have not held a newspaper, read the news (through online medium/ magazines), have not seen a news channel in any language, have not read a single book (beyond education curriculum books) their entire lives. If you think I’m exaggerating just check this link. It’s an ongoing collation of mishaps where people keep making grammatical errors in their tweets.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no intellectual genius in English language but I know for a fact that I’m not half as bad as these guys. The reason why I write this post is because I myself was a educated illiterate at some point in my life. The idea of this post is not to criticize, ridicule, or debase these people. The idea is to ask questions. Some really difficult questions indeed. 

What could be the reason for ineptitude of these people? Are teachers who taught them in their high school years to be blamed partially? I strongly believe and feel that the individual too is to be blamed for such attitude. After all, a seat was deployed, fees was paid, knowledge was imparted in classrooms and examination papers were set and corrected even for these candidates like any other. So if the person sharing the bench with you and most of the other classmates can reap the benefits of education, who/what is stopping you?

As a reader, what are your thoughts on this topic? Do you know anybody who is an educated illiterate? Are/ Were you an educated illiterate yourself? Please give in your comments because your thoughts and views count a lot and give a new perspective to the understanding.

Manish :)

Every 3000 sheets of paper cost us a tree. Please think before you print.

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