90% kids from poorer households in India are illiterate: UNESCO

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90% kids from poorer households in India are illiterate: UNESCO
New Delhi, Jan 29: Here is a shocker - Even after completing four years of school, 90% of children from poorer households in India remain illiterate. This alarming finding has been released by United Nations Educational, Scientific And Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in its 11th Education For All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report.

The report also says that around 30% of kids from poorer homes are iliterate despite five to six years of schooling. Only 44% of rural students in the Std V age group in Maharashtra and 53% in Tamil Nadu could perform two-digit subtraction, says the report.

The report says that while the richest young women in India have already achieved universal literacy, the poorest are projected to do so only by 2080.

"Around the world, governments are grappling with ways to reallocate their education budgets to those children most in need. Allocations per child still do not adequately reflect the costs of delivering quality education to the marginalized", the report observes. In India, southern state Kerala, one of the wealthier states, spends roughly $685 per pupil for education. In Bihar, the figure stood at just $100.

The report finds that the pace in achieving universal primary education, lower secondary education and youth literacy is alarmingly slow for many countries.

The new EFA goals after 2015 should set a target for all countries to allocate at least 6% of GNP to education and at least 20% of total government expenditure on education, says the report.

In rural India, wide disparities were seen between the kids in richer and poorer states. Even within the prosperous states, the poorest girls showed lower skill levels. In the wealthier states of Maharashtra and TN, most rural pupils reached Std V in 2012. But only 44% of these in Maharashtra and 53% in TN could perform two-digit subtraction.

Widespread poverty in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh affects the chances of children staying in school until Std V. In UP, only 70% of poor kids make it to Std V, while almost all from rich households are able to do so. In MP, 85% of poor pupils enter Std V, compared to 96% of rich children.

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