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International literacy day 2020: How literacy rate is calculated in India | India News


NEW DELHI: Amidst the challenges that coronavirus pandemic poses for students and educators, the world observed the International Literacy day on Tuesday. Celebrated annually on September 8, the International Literacy day was first declared at UNESCO’s general conference in 1966 to celebrate world literacy.
As per UNESCO, 773 million adults and young people around the world still lack basic literacy skills. Given how the near-global lockdown caused by Covid-19 has disrupted education, “affecting more than 91% of students and 99% of teachers”, UNESCO announced the theme for International Literacy Day 2020 as “literacy teaching and learning in the COVID-19 crisis and beyond”.
Back home in India, the disruption that Covid-19 has caused in the education sector has been unprecedented and resulted in several controversies. While parents have debated on when or if schools should be re-opened , students appearing for competitive exams at the undergraduate level have also contemplated the impact of the pandemic on their careers.
India’s literacy rate
Meanwhile, on Monday, National Statistical Office (NSO) released the data for 2017-18 on state-wise literacy rate in the country for all aged 7 or above. As per NSO, India’s average literacy rate is 77.7%.
While Andhra Pradesh’s literacy rate of 66.4% is the worst among all states in India and significantly lower than Bihar’s 70.9%, Kerala ranked highest in the list with 96.2%. Delhi stood second with 88.7%.
More impressively, the gap between male and female literacy is the smallest in Kerala at just 2.2 percentage points. To put that in context, the gap at the all-India level is 14.4 percentage points with male literacy at 84.7% and female literacy at 70.3%.
The gap between urban and rural literacy rates is of the same order of magnitude as that between males and females. Once again, Kerala has the lowest gap of 1.9 percentage points. At the other end of the spectrum on this count are Telangana, where urban literacy is 23.4 percentage points higher than rural literacy, and Andhra Pradesh, where the difference is 19.2 percentage points.
NSO surveyed around 1.13 lakh households across 8,000 villages and 6,000 urban blocks. The data for the report were collected during 2017-18 for the age group of 7 or above.
How India calculates literacy rate
Literacy rate is calculated by dividing the number of literates in a given age range by the corresponding age group population. The result is then multiplied by 100.
Alternatively, the same method can be applied to calculate the number of illiterates; or by subtracting the literacy rate from 100%.
As per the 2011 Census, any person aged seven and above and has the ability to read and write is considered literate.

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