Hyderabad: According to the 2011 census, the Telangana state’s literacy rate is 66.46 per cent whereas the national literacy rate is 74.04 per cent. According to Telangana Socio-Economic Outlook 2018, the state literacy rate is now 66.54 per cent. There is a gap of 7.58 percentage between the state and national literacy rates, but the Telangana government has not done much in the last four years to cover this gap, say experts.
Even though the government is saying that it will improve the quality of government schools it has been adamant in not implementing Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 along with the government of Andhra Pradesh while even backward states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are implementing it. This has been cited as one of the main reasons behind the low literacy rate in Telangana state, said Professor Sandeep Pandey, an education expert.
“If the Telangana and A.P. governments are serious about improving the quality of their government schools why don't they ask employees, people's representatives and judges receiving government salaries, to send their children to government schools?”, asked Mr Sandeep Pandey former member of Central Advisory Board on Education (CABE)
He further added, “According to the Allahabad High Court order of Justice Sudhir Agarwal delivered in 2015, this is required to be done to enhance the quality of teaching in government schools. The literacy rate can be increased only by improving the quality of government schools. For this the government needs to implement RTE Act, Justice Sudhir Agarwal’s judgement and ultimately a common school system.”
While elaborating the importance of Right To Education (RTE) Act in filling the gap of literacy rate, Mr Pandey explained, “RTE Act offers at least 25 per cent seats in all schools, including the most expensive private ones, to children from disadvantaged groups and weaker sections, for free education from pre-primary to class VIII standard. Because of this Act implemented in other states there is an aspiration among parents from these underprivileged categories to get their children admitted to the so-called good private schools. This creates pressure on government schools to perform, otherwise children will simply desert the government schools.” Mr N. Narayana, Convenor of Centre for Education Research and Analysis said, “There is a historical reason for low literacy rate. Telangana region was under feudal (Nizam) regime until 1956. Then the educational facilities were very meagre and the medium of instruction was Urdu which was unknown to the masses. In this region more than 80 percent people are SC, ST, Minority and BC communities who were unable to access the education.”
He added, “There are two measures to be taken to increase literacy rate in Telangana. One is formal, another is informal. All children aged 5+ should be enrolled and must continue for a minimum of 8 years of schooling. And all non-literate persons (15+ years) should be accommodated in Adult Education Centres for a minimum of 6 months with special modules. And even after that they must be provided continuous learning arrangements.”