The key difference between literacy and numeracy is that literacy is the ability to read and write, whereas numeracy is the ability to apply and understand simple math concepts like adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing.
Literacy and numeracy are two essential skills we need in our day-to-day activities. Both literacy and numeracy are considered basic employability skills in workplaces. Thus, an individual has to be literate and numerate in performing various jobs. With technological advancement, literacy and numeracy have also been upgraded to a digital literacy level. Thus, apart from being conventional literate and numerate, a person also has to pay attention to being digitally literate.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Literacy
3. What is Numeracy
4. Literacy vs Numeracy in Tabular Form
5. Summary – Literacy and Numeracy
What is Literacy?
Literacy denotes the ability to read and write. The UNESCO defines literacy as “the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute, using printed and written materials associated with varying contexts.” As UNESCO points out, there are around 773 million people around the world who are unable to write and read.
Literacy is significant because it provides the key to interacting with the outer world. People have to read articles, labels, newspapers, noticeboards, and signs in their everyday life, and this requires reading skills. The reading and writing abilities of people can differ from one culture to another. With the advanced development of technology, in some societies, writing and reading printed media is not enough nowadays, and digital literacy is also required. People also require reading and writing skills for communication purposes since modern technology uses communication methods like instant messaging, social media, and emailing. The most vital role of literacy is the transformation of students into socially engaged citizens.
What is Numeracy?
Numeracy can be defined as the fundamental ability to apply and comprehend basic math concepts in the real world. Addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division are the basic math concepts. People need to make various decisions in everyday life. Thus, a numeric literate person may face numerical demands of life successfully by solving problems, understanding and explaining solutions, checking answers, and processing information. This will help people to reach for a better social life, academic career, as well as career life.
Possessing good numerical skills is required for most jobs. Having numerical skills is, in fact, one of the essential employability skills in modern workplaces.
What is the Difference Between Literacy and Numeracy?
Literacy is the ability to read and write, whereas numeracy is the ability to apply basic math concepts. Thus, this is the key difference between literacy and numeracy. When reading signs, labels, posts, newspapers, and boards, people need to have at least average literacy skills. Simultaneously, numeracy is also important for individuals for reasoning strategies and logical thinking in their day-to-day activities. Moreover, although literacy focuses on learning letters to read and write, numeracy focuses on learning numerical values.
Below is a summary of the difference between literacy and numeracy in tabular form for side by side comparison.
Summary – Literacy vs Numeracy
The key difference between literacy and numeracy is that literacy is the ability to read and write, whereas numeracy is the ability to understand and apply basic math concepts like adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing. It is vital to be literate and numerate for an individual to perform day-to-day activities. Moreover, literacy and numeracy are required to be essential employability skills in performing jobs. With the technological progression, being digital literate has also become very significant.
1. “What Is Numeracy?” National Numeracy.
2. “The Importance of Literacy and Numeracy Skills.” Kangan Institute.
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