New Delhi: The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared September 8 as the International Literacy Day on November 17, 1965. The motive behind celebrating the World Literacy Day is to highlight the significance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies. This year, the world will celebrate 50th International Literacy Day under the banner “Reading the Past, Writing the Future”.
Literacy in India
As per the latest Census 2011 report, the illiteracy rate in India is 22 per cent.
Jains are the most literate community above 7 years of age among religious communities with 86.73 per cent of them as literate and only 13.57 per cent as illiterate.
Illiteracy is highest in Muslims (42.72 per cent) while Hindus are at 36.40 per cent, 32.49 per cent among Sikhs, 28.17 per cent among Buddhists and 25.66 per cent among Christians.
About 61.6 per cent men and 38.4 per cent women have studied up to graduation or above.
As per UNESCO’s new Global Education Monitoring (GEM) report, India is expected to achieve universal primary education in 2050, universal lower secondary education in 2060 and universal upper secondary education in 2085.
According to 2011 census, Kerala is the most literate state with 93.91 per cent, Lakshadweep at 92.28 per cent, Mizoram at 91.58 per cent, Tripura at 87.75 percent and Goa at 87.40 percent.
Bihar and Telangana have the lowest liteacy with only 63.82 percent and 66.50 percent literate people respectively.
In 2014, the literacy rate of India increased by 10 percent.
India’s literacy rate has increased six times since the end of the British rule — from 12 per cent to 74 per cent in 2011. However, India has the world’s largest population of illiterates.
Over five lakh posts of primary teachers is lying vacant in government schools across the country. Therefore, the Union Human Resource Development Ministry has decided to write to states requesting them to address this “serious issue” as early as possible.
From January 2017, the government will include 12 lakh students in literacy campaign. In five years, they are planning to reduce the illiteracy rate of India by 10 per cent.