Boston — Before a boy or girl receives a certificate stating that he or she has completed secondary school, each one should have taught 10 adults to read and write.
In only a few nations, Scandinavia, the Soviet Union, or Japan, would this requirements pose any sort of hardship. All other nations, including the United States, have a very high illiteracy rate.
In those nations with a high literacy rate, the requirement should be expanded to include scientific information or basic literacy.
But the need to have complete literacy throughout the world is so great that one sure way of attacking the problem with the sort of consistency that will eliminate it is to require all senior high school students not only to find, but to teach, at least 10 adults how to read and write. (Or, if there are no illiterates in the community, find those who are lacking in current scientific and technological information and introduce them to scientific literacy.)
Nothing is better for learning than to be teachers simultaneously. And, of course, it's important that all who receive a free education at the cost of the taxpayers feel an obligation to eradicate ignorance where it causes community hardship.
What a priviledge to help those who formerly were unable to read and write to be able to participate fully in economic productivity and community affairs.
Where literacy is not a problem, the gains in scientific knowledge, particularly for those older residents whose school study in the natural and physical sciences is out of date and almost obsolete, will be enormous.
Each high school student seeking a graduation certificate will have to prove to the school authorities that he or she has done the necessary teaching; and this burden should be on the students to prove, not for school authorities to discover.
Of course, schools full of students looking for ways to help adults learn to read and write will naturally be turning to their teachers for suggestions, materials, and guidance.
While teaching 10 adults is the minimum for a student seeking a graduation certificate, there is no limit, of course, to the number a student may choose to help, particularly in those areas of the world where the ne ed is greatest.
Next week: A preschool for each school