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Literacy [basic literacy] is a fundamental human right and the foundation for lifelong learning. It is fully essential to social and human development in its ability to transform lives. For individuals, families, and societies alike, it is an instrument of empowerment to improve one’s health, one’s income, and one’s relationship with the world. 
Literate has more than one meaning.
- A person who can read and write is called literate, that's known as basic literacy.
- Literate can also mean having read and learnt a great deal.
- A person who understands a particular subject well is called literate in that subject, for example if you understand Computers you're computer literate.