India’s literacy index: Over 50% of states have scored below the national average
West Bengal topped the chart and Bihar continued to keep at the bottom in the ‘large states’ category on the ‘Index on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy’ — an indicator of literacy among children below 10 years. In the ‘small states’ category, Kerala grabbed the top spot, and Jharkhand has adjudged the worst performer on the index. There are four categories in which regions have been divided — large states, small states, Union Territories, and North East.
The report on the ‘Index on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy’ was prepared by the ‘Institute for Competitiveness’ and released by Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) chairman Bibek Debroy. The report said the challenge of ensuring quality Foundational Literacy and Numeracy for all is daunting, yet not impossible to achieve. “The top-scoring regions are Kerala (67.95) and West Bengal (58.95) in small and large states, respectively,” the EAC-PM said in a statement. Lakshadweep (52.69) and Mizoram (51.64) are top-scoring regions in the Union Territory and North East state category, respectively.
As far as worst performers are concerned, Ladakh has featured at the bottom in the list of UTs, while Arunachal Pradesh came last in the North East category. According to the statement, the ‘Index on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy’ is the first step in this direction, establishing an understanding of the overall state of Foundational Learning across children aged below ten years in Indian states and Union territories. The Index includes five pillars comprising 41 indicators.
The five pillars are — educational infrastructure, access to education, basic health, learning outcomes, and governance. The statement issued by PM’s Economic Advisory Council said out of the five pillars, it has been observed that states have performed particularly worse in governance. “More than 50 percent of the states have scored below the national average, i.E. 28.05, the lowest across all pillars,” it said.
According to the statement, during the panel discussion organized on the occasion, Bibek Debroy said, “Education leads to positive externalities and the quality of education imparted is important especially during the formative years.” The present attainments in literacy and numeracy and the variations among states should be the focus for remedial action, he added.
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