“READING BETWEEN THE LINES”
How strange is the life we live? . “eLanka” has just published an article I wrote about Richmal Crompton, titled “Unforgettable Writers” & will publish (hopefully) an article I have not quite finished yet titled “My Moratuwa Story”, both of which, reading between the lines, shows the importance of READING, practically from the time one is able to open up their first book.
As usual, I was seated in my armchair, watching Jenny Brockie on SBS television conducting her very interesting forum for debate, and powerful “first person” stories, and doing so with professionalism & tact. She has “covered” many subjects on “INSIGHT”, some funny, some serious, some happy & some sad, but this “show”, to my own way of thinking, was absolutely shocking!, as well.
How many of my readers would even know that about 44% of Australian Adults are BELOW the” line “in Literacy & Numeracy skills? . Amazing, but true.
This particular program had a panel of young males & females, just ordinary blokes & girls who, strangely enough, told their stories enacting all the adjectives I have mentioned above, once again, no names or pack-drill, but some were “funny”, in the answers to Jenny’s questions and brought smiles to the faces of some, in the audience, one or two were very “serious” with their replies, happily, one was “satisfied” with the progress in his life, while the “sad” ones, unhappily, do not expect any change, going forward.
What shocked me was the high percentage factor of people in Australia, a first World Country, who were practically illiterate, not only in literacy but numeracy as well. 10%, would have been acceptable, I suppose, but 44%!! ?, who, in the World would think that NEARLY half of all Australian adults could neither read or write, Granted, firstly, we have a.large.percentage of various migrants to this Country who have not bothered too much with learning English and are content to get employment where they don’t have to converse too much, but I have also heard that some of these adult, unfortunate people, cannot “count” the change that comes their way after shopping, for instance.
I suppose this could happen to any “tourist” in a foreign Country, BUT migrants to Australia should be advised & encouraged to learn English & assimilate much better than a lot of them do. This is paramount, & should be high on the list of “do’s” for EVERY State Government in the Country. Even though it might be a fraction top late for adults, all migrant AND Australian children, should be TAUGHT TO READ from books & not from iphones & other electronic gadgets. They should be taught their initial Arithmetic, how to add, subtract, multiply & divide WITHOUT the aid of these electronic calculators. TEACHERS MUST TEACH, not expect their pupils to go home, do piles of homework and TEACH THEMSELVES. This will never happen, and from the rate it is going, 75% of all adult Australians will be illiterate by 2050, and this writer will possibly be “up-there” somewhere (hopefully), wondering WHY good advice in Australia is always taken with a pinch os salt.
To Jenny Brockie, I say, keep up the good work. Sometimes, a good “shock” helps sleeping people & Politicians to “wake-up” & “Reading between the lines” (especially in a good book or three), will result in a much more literate Australia.
Desmond (Kelly from Colombo)
Star of eLanka – (Editor-in-Chief).