Rural Illiteracy Among Girls

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Census 2011 reported 32.23 percent illiteracy rate, in 7 and above age group in rural areas of the country, compared to 41.26 percent in 2001 thus showing a decrease in illiteracy rate by 9.03 percentage points. Likewise, as per Census reports, the number of non-literate girls in the age group of 7-14, in rural areas of the country, has decreased by 1.22 crore from 2.53 crore reported in 2001 to 1.31 crore in 2011.

In order to improve the female literacy rate in the country, “Saakshar Bharat”, a Centrally Sponsored Scheme is being implemented in rural areas of 410 districtsin 26 States and one UTthat had adult female literacy rate of 50 per cent and below as per Census 2001, including left wing extremism affected districts, irrespective of their literacy rates, with special focus on women and other disadvantaged groups.

In order to ensure greater participation of girls in elementary education, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) has targeted interventions for girls which include opening of schools in the neighborhood to make access easier for girls, appointment of additional teachers including women teachers, separate toilets for girls, teachers’ sensitization programme to promote girls participation, gender sensitive teaching learning materials including textbooks. In addition, Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas have been opened in Educationally Backward Blocks where the female rural literacy is below the national average to provide for residential upper primary schools for girls.

Under Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) several provisions viz. construction of separate toilets for girls, construction of residential quarters for teachers, curriculum reforms, conducting self defence training for the girls, special programme for empowerment of girls, stipend for girls with disabilities, vocationalisation of secondary education, girls hostel, etc. have been made for improving girls education and effectively addressing female literacy rate.

This information was given by the Union Human Resource Development Minister, Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani today in a written reply to a Rajya Sabha question.

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