Dwie techniki pomiaru poziomu piśmienności w krajach słabo rozwiniętych
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There is a general feeling that the technique used so far in national censuses to identify illiterates among adult populations does not give valid results, as it consists in asking a person to evaluate his ability to read and write. Another criterion suggested by educationalists to identify illiterates is the non-completion of 4 grades of primary school. It is hypothesized that the criterion of self-evaluation grossly underestimates the number of illiterates, due to the fact that many of them claim to be literates. It is believed that the criterion of the non-completion of 4 grades would be much more reliable and the number of illiterates so identified should be much higher. To verify this hypothesis, comparable census data from 6 Latin American countries and one Arab country were analyzed. It was found that in all these countries the pattern of differences between the results obtained by using both criteria corroborates the hypothesis. In addition, it was discovered that the differences between the numbers of self-evaluated illiterates and the number of those finishing less than 4 grades are much greater among males than among females. This phenomenon is explained hypothetically by pointing to the stronger tendency among male illiterates to claim being literate, as well as to their having more opportunities to become literate, even without 4 grades of school. Some proposals for further research to validate the school criterion of illiteracy are suggested.