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UNESCO: India has largest number of adult illiterates

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India has largest number of adult illiterates

India has witnessed the largest number of adult illiterates in the world with 287 million, according to the Education For All Global Monitoring Report 2013-14, by UNESCO.

According to the report, the Indian curriculum is unrealistic and far too ambitious for the child. And as a result, India, apparently has the largest number of adult illiterates in the world - 287 million or 37% of the total number in the world, it states.

UNESCO had conducted the survey across 37 countries, among children aged between 15 and 25.

Earlier, India's literacy was 48% in 1996 and 63% in 2006. "The growth of the Indian population has canceled the gains, so there was no change in the number of illiterate adults." says report.

According to the UNESCO, approximately 250 million children in the world, could not even read a sentence.

The number of illiterate adults have fallen by 1% since 2000. In 43 countries, more than
one in ten children died before the age of 5 in 2000.

In low income countries, only 14% of the poorest, complete lower secondary school.

Some middle income countries, such as Egypt, India and the Philippines, have far greater potential to mobilise domestic resources for education through improved taxes. Higher levels of tax revenue in Brazil, help explain how it spends ten times as much as India per primary school child.

In India, the majority of tax revenue foregone is due to exemptions from customs and excise duties. The revenue lost to exemptions came to an equivalent of 5.7% of GDP in 2012/13.

On an average across 67 countries, the money that will be spent per primary school child would increase from US$209 to US$466 in 2015. In the low income countries among the 67, the average amount spent per primary school child would increase from US$102 to US$158.

In one of India's wealthier states, Kerala, education expenditure per pupil was about US$685. By contrast, in the poorer state of Bihar it was just US$100.

The world's poorest children, who are the most likely to be out of school, live not only in low income countries, but also in some lower middle income countries.

In 1999, 84% of the world's out-of-school children lived in low income countries and 12% in lower middle income countries; by 2011, 37% lived in low income countries and 49% in lower middle income countries. This shift was largely due to the change in the income of lower middle class of some largely populated countries such as India, Nigeria and Pakistan.

Education promotes healthy societies, helps people understand democracy, promotes the tolerance and trust that underpin it, and motivates people to participate in politics. In India, reducing the gender literacy gap by 40%, increased the probability of women standing for state assembly election by 16% and the share of votes that they received by 13%.

Children who learn less, are more likely to leave school early. In Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam, children who achieved lower scores in mathematics at age 12, were more likely than others to drop out by age 15.

Across India, absenteeism varied from 15% in Maharashtra and 17% in Gujarat - two of the richer states; as against 38% in Bihar and 42% in Jharkhand, two of the poorest states. In Andhra Pradesh, 82% of teachers regularly corrected exercises given to children, compared to 40% in government schools.

Private school teachers are generally thought to work under conditions of greater accountability. In India, only one head teacher in 3,000 government schools reported dismissing a teacher for repeated absence. By contrast, 35 private school head teachers, out of 600 surveyed, were reported having dismissed them for this reason.

In Tamil Nadu, primary students learn at their own pace, using self-evaluation cards that can be administered alone or with the help of another child; teachers strategically pair more advanced learners with less advanced ones for certain exercises.

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