A hope of light by growing illiteracy in rural India

New Delhi,TCA SHARAD RAGHAVAN: The Socio Economic and Caste Census 2011 (SECC) released on Friday has found that 36 per cent of the 884 million people in rural India are illiterate. This is higher than the 32 per cent recorded by the Census of India 2011.

Though a majority of children in rural areas are enrolled in schools, the high drop-out rate is a matter of concern. File photo: N. Rajesh
Though a majority of children in rural areas are enrolled in schools, the high drop-out rate is a matter of concern. File photo: N. Rajesh

Of the 64 per cent literate rural Indians, a more than a fifth have not even completed primary school. The SECC also found that only 5.4 per cent of rural India has completed high school with a mere 3.4 per cent having graduated from college.

This poor state of rural education is reflected in the fact that 23.5 per cent of rural households had no adults above the age of 25 who are literate – one of the categories of deprivation measured by the SECC.

The performance within States is hugely varied, with an alarming 47.6 per cent of rural Rajasthanis remaining illiterate, compared to 9.3 per cent in Lakshadweep and 11.4 per cent in Kerala.

Delhi the best

Delhi performs the best when it comes to percentage of its rural population that has completed graduate studies – at 9.6 per cent, its performance is almost thrice as good as the national average.

These numbers reiterate the poor quality of education being provided in rural India and the high drop-out rate, as brought up repeatedly by the Annual State of Education Report (ASER) in rural India by Pratham.

According to ASER, 96 per cent of children aged 6-14 are enrolled in schools, but the fact that 36 per cent of rural Indians are illiterate points towards poor education quality, a high drop-out rate, or both.