Study: Women's Literacy in India Falling Further Behind
In today’s information society, education is the driving force behind a strong economic and social development. Unfortunately, according to results of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) conducted by the OECD, the largest emerging markets in the world—the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China)—may be losing educational ground against the so-called FICS (Finland, Ireland, South Korea and Sweden).
Things look greener on the China side of the fence. The Asian giant is said to be “winning the school race”, coming in first in recent PISA studies. India, by contrast, is leading the BRICs in digital exclusion, partly due to adult illiteracy. Most Indians cannot afford or access ICTs and lack the education to use them effectively. While European economies, hard hit by the global crisis, are working to raise their citizens’ financial and digital literacy, this high-growth economy is faced with another challenge.
More than two-thirds of the world's 793 million illiterate adults (two-thirds of them women) are found in only eight countries and India is one of them. If the second most populated nation on Earth is to assume its role as a world economic leader, before becoming digitally or financially literate it must eradicate adult illiteracy.
Statistics show that illiteracy and poor economies go hand in hand. The state of Bihar—India’s poorest—has the lowest women’s literacy rate in the nation. Values are lower in rural areas than in urban ones. In Jammu & Kashmir, a largely agricultural state, only 41.82% of its women are literate.Continued on the next page