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International Literacy Day: Eye-opening facts about Literacy rate

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 whole 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 experts of foreign lands had said that India will not be able to maintain democracy because of poverty, illiteracy, and communalism related riots. They feared that India will either move towards a military rule or communism. However, we proved their predictions wrong by making big changes in the governance, policies, administrations. However, despite coming a long way, there are millions, who are not educated in India today.

Literacy rate in India

National Statistical Office recently released a report on the literacy rates in India. The literacy rate has reached soaring 77.7 %. Kerala has topped the list with 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 7 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 %, while 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 literacy and rural female literacy is an alarming 27.2 percentage points.

Read more: Literacy VS Education: Are you really getting yourself educated?

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 is entirely concerned with the ability to read and write, an educated person has the understandability, thoughts, and application in an appropriate manner. 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 which most of us receive in the school and colleges while education is gained through experiences. Experience is actually our teacher which makes us an 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. But do we have growth in education? Sadly, no. There are many skillful graduates in our country who lack in 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 roads but an educated person will think twice. A literate person can take/give a bribe but an educated person will never do so.

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