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More literates in 2001 than 1991: census figures

Monday 6 June 2005

Staff Correspondent

NEW DELHI: There has been an increase in the absolute number of literates at all levels between 1991 and 2001. The latest education data released by the Registrar-General of India, there were 560 million literates in the country in 2001 compared to 359 (excluding J&K) in 1991, taking the literacy rate among the population of seven years and above at the national level to 64.8. The male and female literacy rates are 75.3 and 53.7 respectively.

In absolute numbers, of the 560.688 million literates in the country, 336.534 are men and 224.154 are women. Any person aged 7 years or above who can read and write with understanding in any language has been considered as `literate.’ But it is not necessary that a literate should have received any formal education or passed any minimum educational standard. Those who are blind and can read in Braille have also been treated as literates.

The census data shows that two-thirds of the population in the 6-10 age group were attending school; three-fourths of the population is attending school in the 11-13 age group. The population attending school in the 14-19 age group is 43.1 per cent while that of attending the college is just 4.2 per cent. Again, the percentage of population attending school among males is higher than females in the age group of 6-10 years and 11-13 years. The figures also show that the percentage of population attending school in urban areas is higher than rural areas and the trend is similar in the case of population attending college.

The figures suggest that 3.6 per cent of the literates are categorised as `literates without educational level’ while 25.8 per cent come in the category of "below primary’’. Over 26 per cent of the literates have completed `primary level’ but could not complete middle level of education. Another interesting figure thrown up during the census data collection is that nearly one-third of the Scheduled Caste literates have not completed `primary level’ of education while over one-fourth have attained the `primary level’.

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