758 million adults remain illiterate: International Literacy Day

250 million children lack basic literacy skills and 124 million children and adolescents receive no schooling at all

GN Bureau | September 8, 2016


#International Literacy Day   #Literacy Rate   #Census 2011   #Literacy   #UNESCO  


World is observing 50th International Literacy on Thursday under the banner of ‘Reading the Past, Writing the Future’. The event was first observed by the UNESCO in 1966.

According to UNESCO, 758 million adults (aged 15 years and above), including two-thirds of whom are women, are illiterate. Some 250 million children of primary school age lack basic literacy skills and 124 million children and adolescents receive no schooling at all.

These figures are a reminder that renewed efforts will be needed in order to reach Sustainable Development Goals 4 and 5 and the Education 2030 targets.

Check latest data on world literacy

Facts about India


According to 2011 census, India’s literacy rate is 64.84 %. This was 53.67% in 2001.

According to 2011 census, Kerala is the most literate state with 93.91 per cent, Lakshadweep at 92.28 per cent, Mizoram at 91.58 per cent, Tripura at 87.75 percent and Goa at 87.40 percent. Bihar and Telangana have the lowest literacy rates with only 63.82 percent and 66.50 percent respectively.

Illiteracy is highest among Muslims (42.72 percent). This followed by Hindus (36.40 percent), Silks (32.49 percent), Buddhists ( 28.17 percent) and Christians (25.66 percent).

As per UNESCO’s new Global Education Monitoring (GEM) report, India is expected to achieve universal primary education in 2050, universal lower secondary education in 2060 and universal upper secondary education in 2085.

“The illiterate men and women are more vulnerable to ill heath, exploitation and human rights abuse. They are more likely to be unemployed and paid less. Unable to read or write, they are held back from their full potential, and whole communities are locked into vicious cycles of poverty that lay the conditions for violence and strife… Illiteracy remains synonymous with exclusion and poverty – we must turn this around,” UNESCO said in an official statement.

Check UNESCO’s e-Atlast on literacy

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