Kerala tops the list of states in terms of literacy while the rural areas of Bihar have the worst literacy rate even as around 50% of people in the age group of 5-29 years have not gone to any educational institution.
According to a recent National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) report, the literacy rate in India during 2004-05 was 64%, with Kerala having 83% of its rural population and 85% of its urban residents as literate. Bihar's rural areas had the lowest literacy rate — 44% — while the urban literacy rate was lowest in Rajasthan at 64%.
The survey also found that only about 50% of the people in the age group of 5-29 were currently attending any educational institution. They included 53% males and 46% females.
Among the states, the attendance rate was highest (60%) in Haryana and lowest (42%) in Orissa. While 63% of all these students were in government institutions, about 17% of students were studying in private unaided institutions and 14% were attached to private aided institutes.
A meagre 6% of them were attending the local body institutions, the survey on 'status of education and vocational training in India — 2004-05' said.
Majority of males, who were away from education, attributed it 'to supplement household income'. Similarly, girls cited attending 'domestic chores', the survey found. In the age group of 15-29 years, about 2% reported to have received formal vocational training and another 8% reported to have received non-formal vocational training.
In about 26% of households in rural areas and about 8% of households in urban areas, there was not a single member above 15 years who could read and write a simple message, the survey said. About 50% of rural households and 20% of urban households had no literates among female members of age 15 years and above, it said.