It was a statistic waiting to be confirmed officially. India hosts over 34 percent of the world’s adult illiterates. With burgeoning population and most of them living in villages which don’t even have proper road access, the state of education in India is pathetic. During the past sixty years of post-independence, no other sector has been as neglected as education.
This has resulted in India becoming the host to the world’s largest number of blatantly illiterate adults (34 percent of world’s illiterates are in India). Poverty-illiteracy-poverty is a vicious circle in which large number of Indians are caught and are unable to extricate themselves.
Apart from hosting the largest number of illiterates in the world, India has not done well in the human development index either. The country ranks a poor 126th in the Human Development Index prepared by the UNDP. This point was raised in the Rajya Sabha yesterday by MPs who expressed deep concern about the issue.
According to the Human Development Report 2006, India ranks 126th out of 177 countries, Minister of State of Human Resources Development, D Purendeswari, informed the upper house. Politicians seem to be busy discussing the issue rather than doing something about it.
Citing some ministry statistics she proudly stated that the number of illiterates has reduced by 24 million in one decade. Shameful, the population increased by over 200 million in the same period. In the year 2001, the total number of illiterates came down to 304.11 million from 328.88 million in 1991.
It would not be correct to say that the illiteracy rate has not been reduced despite major schemes such as the National Literacy Mission and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan,
the minister said.
In the 11th plan, special focus would be given to SCs, STs, minorities and rural women under the National Literacy Mission. The thrust will also be on low literacy states, tribal areas, other disadvantaged groups and adolescents, she said.
However, this is just not enough. India currently hosts larger population of illiterate adults than the total population of the country in 1947 when the country gained independence. Since then, there has been no progress in this sector.
On one hand there is jubilation and claims that India hosts the youngest population in the world (more than 450 million are under age 24). But what is the use of this large number of people if they are not educated and can’t gain suitable employment and contribute to the state’s exchequer? They will turn to crime to meet their needs and soon India will be a nation of criminals along with a nation of illiterates.
Source: Times of India