September 8 was declared the International Literacy Day by UNESCO in 1966, in order to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies.
As stated by UNESCO, to date 773 million people still do not possess basic literacy skills.
The COVID-19 pandemic has come with a lot of challenges; however, education has taken an especially bad hit.
The disruption of education in schools and colleges has affected around 91% of students as well as 99% of teachers, UNESCO announced recently.
In view of recent events, there has been a nationwide debate on whether ought to be opened or not, and whether the entrance tests will be conducted as scheduled.
Amidst all this chaos, the National Statistical Office (NSO) has announced the state-wise literacy rate data for 2017-18 for individuals aged 7 years and above.
Andhra Pradesh took the toll to the lowest position in the table with only 66.4% literacy rate, which is also significantly lower than Bihar’s literacy rate of 70.9%, while Kerala ranked highest among the states with 96.2% followed by Delhi with 88.7%.
As per the study, the gender gap is also the smallest in Kerala, i.e. 2.2% points. However, in terms of the gender gap, the worst-performing state is Rajasthan with 23% points.
According to the report, the male literacy rate is 84% and the female literacy rate is 70.3%, in Odisha.
The data revealed a 48.8% increase in male literacy rate when compared to the 2011 Census data. And the increase in the female literacy rate was a staggering 61.3%.
The effective literacy rate is 77.3%, says the report, which shows an increase of 6.03% as compared to the 2011 Census data.
Typically, states with low literacy rates seem to have a skewed gender gap. However, this is not always true.
As per the report, Odisha has a gender gap of 13.5% points, whereas states like Himachal Pradesh (12.4), Haryana (16.7) and Gujarat (14.7) have high literacy rate than Odisha, but they are also high in the gender gap. Also, the national gender gap stands at 14.4% points, which is alarmingly high.
Except for Kerala (95.2), 21 states have a female literacy rate below 90%. In the case of male literacy, only 6 states mark above the 90% bar.
While everyone is focusing on digitalizing the education system, the report revealed that only 4% of rural population possessed a computer as compared to the urban populace (23%).
Internet usage data was also staggeringly low, stating only 35% (aged 15-29 years) used the internet during the 30 days prior to the survey. Of this, 25% were from rural and 58% were from urban areas.