International Literacy Day – 8th September

  • The International Literacy day was first declared at UNESCO’s general conference in 1966 to celebrate world literacy.
  • As per UNESCO, 773 million adults and young people around the world still lack basic literacy skills.
  • The near-global lockdown caused by Covid-19 has disrupted education, “affecting more than 91% of students and 99% of teachers”,
    • UNESCO announced the theme for International Literacy Day 2020 as “literacy teaching and learning in the COVID-19 crisis and beyond”.

       India’s literacy rate

  • Recently National Statistical Office (NSO) released the data for 2017-18 on state-wise literacy rate in the country for all aged 7 or above.
  • As per NSO, India’s average literacy rate is 77.7%.
  • While Andhra Pradesh’s literacy rate of 66.4% is the worst among all states in India and significantly lower than Bihar’s 70.9%, Kerala ranked highest in the list with 96.2%. Delhi stood second with 88.7%.
  • The gap between male and female literacy is the smallest in Kerala at just 2.2 percentage points.
  • To put that in context, the gap at the all-India level is 14.4 percentage points with male literacy at 84.7% and female literacy at 70.3%.
  • The gap between urban and rural literacy rates is of the same order of magnitude as that between males and females.
  • Once again, Kerala has the lowest gap of 1.9 percentage points.
  • At the other end of the spectrum on this count are Telangana, where urban literacy is 23.4 percentage points higher than rural literacy, and Andhra Pradesh, where the difference is 19.2 percentage points.

How India calculates literacy rate

  • Literacy rate is calculated by dividing the number of literates in a given age range by the corresponding age group population. The result is then multiplied by 100.
  • Alternatively, the same method can be applied to calculate the number of illiterates; or by subtracting the literacy rate from 100%.
  • As per the 2011 Census, any person aged seven and above and has the ability to read and write is considered literate.