literacy-rate-kerala-tops-the-chart-with-962-andhra-worst-performer-at-664

 

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Context: Kerala has once again emerged as the most literate state in the country, while Andhra Pradesh featured at the bottom with a rate of 66.4%.

Background:

  • National Statistical Office (NSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation has conducted a survey on Household Social Consumption: Education as part of 75th round of National Sample Survey (NSS).
    • The National Sample Survey (NSS) is a multi-subject integrated continuing sample survey programme launched for collection of data on the various aspects of the national economy required by different agencies of the Government, both Central and States.
  • The main objective of NSS 75th round survey on Household Social Consumption: Education was to build 
    • indicators on participation of the persons of age 3 to 35 years in the education system, 
    • expenditure incurred on education of the household members and 
    • various indicators of those currently not attending education (i.e., for the persons who never enrolled or ever enrolled but currently not attending education). 
  • For persons of age 5 years and above, information was also collected on ability to operate computer, ability to use internet and use of internet during last 30 days. 

What is literacy?

  1. For the purpose of census 2011, a person aged seven and above, who can both read and write with understanding in any language, is treated as literate. 
  2. A person, who can only read but cannot write, is not literate. 

Key takeaways:

  • All India level: Over the last decade, literacy rates have increased from 71.7% to 77.7%, with the highest gains coming among rural women.
    • At all-India level, the male literacy rate is higher at 84.7% compared to 70.3% among women.
    • More than one in five Indians above 7 years still cannot read and write in any language. 
    • In rural areas, the literacy rate is 73.5% compared to 87.7% in urban areas of the country.
  • State Wise performances:
    • Kerala remains at the top of the pile with 96.2% literacy, followed by three northern States: Delhi (88.7%), Uttarakhand (87.6%) and Himachal Pradesh (86.6%).
    • Andhra Pradesh has the country’s lowest literacy rate, at just 66.4%, significantly lower than less developed States such as Chhattisgarh (77.3%), Jharkhand (74.3%), Uttar Pradesh (73%), and Bihar (70.9%). 
  • Gender gap: 
    • The male literacy rate is higher than the female literacy rate among all states. 
    • In Kerala, the male literacy rate is 97.4% compared to 95.2% among females.
    • Even in the worst performing states, there was a considerable gap in male and female literacy rate.
  • Digital literacy: 20% of Indians above the age of 5 years had basic digital literacy.
    • It is just 40% in the critical age group of 15 to 29 years, which includes all high school and college students as well as young parents responsible for teaching younger children.
  • Access to computer and internet:
    • Across India, only one in ten households have a computer — whether a desktop, laptop or tablet. 
      • The report also revealed that nearly 4% of rural households and 23% of urban households possessed computers.
      • Among persons of age 15-29 years, nearly 24% in rural areas and 56% in urban areas were able to operate a computer.
    • Nearly 35% of persons of age 15-29 years reported use of internet.
      • Most of these Internet-enabled homes are located in cities, where 42% have Internet access. 
      • In rural India, however, only 15% are connected to the internet.
      • Having Internet access is no guarantee that one can use it. 
  • Digital divide:
    • Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and Kerala are the States where more than half of all households have Internet. 
    • For the child in urban Himachal Pradesh, where Internet penetration is higher than 70%, students are able to access online schooling, Zoom classes and digital textbooks. 
    • For the child in rural Odisha, where less than 6% of households have Internet facilities, such options are out of the question.
    • Digital divide by economic status: More than 39% of the poorest rural homes have Internet, in comparison to 67% of the richest urban homes.
  • Govt. initiatives: The Centre has directed State Education Departments to map the online access available to all their students in order to adequately plan curriculum and teaching methods that can reach such students. 
    • Although much of the focus has been on digital platforms, television and radio are also being used to deliver lessons.

Even as digital literacy is likely to grow during this pandemic, concerns remain about basic literacy, with September 8 celebrated as International Literacy Day. 

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/nso-report-shows-stark-digital-divide-affects-education/article32554222.ece

Image source: Indian Express

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Q) Even as digital literacy is likely to grow during this pandemic, concerns remain about basic literacy. Discuss (150 words)