Is illiteracy a major problem in India? Does every child get at least a primary education? What can be done to achieve a higher literacy rate in India?
Like most third-world countries, India is ridden with problems of poverty, high mortality rates, illiteracy and more. Although a lot has been achieved in education, a lot remains to be done. The target literacy rate set for the 11th five-year plan (2007-2012) is 85 percent. Do you think it can be achieved?
Literacy rate in India
The literacy rate in India progressed considerably in the early 2000s. In 2001 the literacy rate averaged 64.84 percent. The male literacy rate was higher at 75.26 percent followed by the female literacy rate of 53.67 percent. Illiteracy in India is characterized by wide gaps between the urban and rural populations. The rural population relies heavily on agriculture and the rate of illiteracy is high. The urban population is more of the ‘employee class’ and also more educated.
Even amongst the male and female population, there is a wide disparity in literacy. The social system in India promotes education for the male gender while the female population, especially in the deep interiors of the country, is kept away from schools. According to a report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), India ranks fifth from the bottom in female literacy amongst South and West Asian countries. The government has several schemes for primary education for girls, to the extent that every girl student attending school is given attendance money. The report issued by UNESCO also says that India, Pakistan and Nigeria together account for 27 percent of the children in the world that are not given school education at all.
Will India achieve the target literacy rate?
The target set by the government is 85 percent literacy by the end of 2011. However, with the wide gap between education in urban and rural areas and also between age groups below and above 35 years of age, UNESCO estimates that the country will be able to reach only 70 percent literacy.
India has a lot to achieve in the field of education. Do you think target literacy rates will be achieved? Why?