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International Literacy Day: Eye-Opening Facts About Literacy rate

International Literacy Day: Know the difference between being literate and being educated


International Literacy Day is celebrated on 8th September every year to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, societies, and communities. While the world celebrates this day, we are here with some eye-opening facts about literacy in India.

When India got freedom, and a democratic government started ruling India, little more than 18 %of the people across the country were literate. Then, several foreign experts said India would not be able to maintain democracy because of poverty, illiteracy, and communalism-related riots. They feared that India would either move towards military rule or communism. However, we proved their predictions wrong by making effective governance, policies, and administration changes. However, despite coming a long way, millions today are not educated in India.

Literacy rate in India

The National Statistical Office released a report on literacy rates in India. The literacy rate has reached a soaring 77.7 %. Kerala has topped the list with a 96.2 %literacy rate, followed by the Delhi NCR region at 89 %. The recent report has also debunked the conjecture that South Indian states are more literate than northern states.

The data for the year 2017-18 for people more than seven years of age showed that Andhra Pradesh was the worst-ranked across the country at 66.4 %. It is lower than Bihar (70.9 %). Telangana’s literacy rate is 72.8 %, Karnataka’s is 77.2 %, Uttarakhand’s is 87.6 %, and Assam has 85.9 %.

The gap between male and female literacy rates is 14.4 percentage points in India, with male literacy at 84.7 %and female literacy at 70.3 %. Kerala has the slimmest gap of 2.2 percentage points (pp), Rajasthan has the highest (23.2 pp), followed by Bihar (19.2 pp) and UP (18.4 pp). The difference between urban male and rural female literacy is an alarming 27.2 percentage points.

Who is considered a literate?

As per the Census, a person of more than seven years of age who can write and read with understanding in any language is called a literate. A person who can only read and not write is not considered literate.

Difference between being literate and being educated

While a literate person is entirely concerned with the ability to read and write, an educated person has the understanding, thoughts, and application appropriately. While literacy teaches a person how to read and write, education teaches a person what to read and write. Literacy is akin to the formal education most of us receive in school and colleges, while education is gained through experiences. Experience is our teacher, which makes us educated in the real sense, no matter how literate we are.

The country has a high 77.7 literacy rate, which has grown from 18 %to 77 %since independence. However, do we have growth in education? Sadly, no. Many skilful graduates in our country lack broadened vision, ethics, and skill.

Being educated means a person knows how to conduct themselves in all conditions. A literate person can throw garbage hesitantly on the roads, but an educated person will think twice. A literate person can take/give a bribe, but an educated person will never do so.

Edited By Ayushi Mittal

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