The Indian economy is a developing economy, thus, the educated as well as educating population is the future of the nation. However, the future of the nation stays in blue when the citizens are not provided with the facility to educate themselves. The different nations are building themselves under the supervision and employment of the educated and skilled workforce. Whereas, India is facing a serious problem of illiteracy amongst its citizens. The large population of the country doesn’t posses enough knowledge about certain subjects, at times, people are just enjoying incomplete knowledge on something in particular.
A report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) highlights that India has highest population of illiterate adults, i.e., 287 million. It shows that the number is huge and around 37% of the world’s illiterate people are India. The literacy rate in India is calculated with regards to the people aged between 15-24 years. The literacy level of any nation is a determinant of its socio-economic status, and the level of literacy in India has been increasing at a very slow pace. The 2011 census depicts that the literacy growth in the decade 2001-2011 has been as low as 9.2%. Thus, the problem of illiteracy continues to prevail in the country at a very large level.

Illiteracy is basically defined as the inability to read or write, that means the individual has lack of knowledge in a particular subject. It is a wider concept and includes the individual ability to adapt to the subject and visualizes the content matter. However, the extent of illiteracy in India is different, the people residing in the villages or rural areas have remained familiar to there native language and are ignorant towards the other languages or subjects. These people are mostly the adults, including women who are now unwilling to learn something new due to lack of time or other priority work to do. The women community is largely affected by the illiteracy around the nations, as the aggregate percentage of girls enrolling in schools is just 47.78%. Overall, 60 lakhs children in India are still not able to prevail the facilities of education. The state of Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh are at the bottom in the terms of Dalit Literacy level.

Literacy is not just the ability to read or write, but also includes the individual’s capacity to comprehend a piece of information and further communicate it with others effectively. Literacy is a significant element to enhance the individual social and personal standards, as it is the tool to help them to represent themselves among the people and share a common surrounding with the people around us. It severs as the foundation of the basic education for all the individuals in the nation. Thus, provision of basic education to all the citizens of the nation becomes a necessity. The Constitution of India recognizes this need and had laid down certain provisions and laws to ensure proper and impartial availability of educational rights to all the citizens.

  • The Article 30 of the Indian Constitution gives right to the minorities to establish their own educational as well as administrative institutions. Also, they have been given the fundamental right to protect their culture and teachings.
  • The Directive Principles of State policy also instructs the state to ensure free education to all the citizens under the sections 41, 45 and 46.
  • Article 21 (A) was also amended to include the provision of free and compulsory education to all the children between the age group of 6-14 years, as a fundamental right.
  • The weaker section of the nation; comprising socially, economically, and educationally backward sections belonging to the Scheduled castes and scheduled tribes are also provided educational rights through the Article 15, 17 and 46 of the Indian Constitution.

Along with these constitutional or legal provisions, there are other schemes and programs that are initiated with the aim and objective to promoting educational awareness among all the citizens in the nation.

  • The Mid-day meal scheme has been launched by the government in 1995 with the aim to improve the enrolment and attendance rate of the students. The poor people will be willing to enroll their children to the government schools which provide free food to the students.
  • There are regular updates on the scholarship programs for the students in order to provide fee concession as well as other necessary items. Also, the aim is that a potential and deserving student should not be deprived of the education due to lack of resources.
  • Samagra Shiksha Programme was launched by the government with the broader goal of improving school effectiveness. This will be measured in terms of equal opportunities for schooling and equitable learning outcomes.
  • Awareness campaigns were launched in rural areas to create awareness among people about the importance of education. They were encouraged to attend or send their children to schools.

It can be observed that continuously efforts have been made by the government to improve the condition of the educational sector and promote the level of literacy in the country. However, the efforts cannot bear results without the support and coordination of the citizens of the country. At the individual level, the people are responsible to make efforts to educate themselves, their children and other encourage other acquaintances as well.
The individuals must indulge themselves in some or other awareness campaign to learn and share the knowledge with their peers.
They should expose themselves the different kinds of reading material and adopt good reading habits.
There is a need to explore more and know your interests to involve in the same kind of areas.
Thus, it can be concluded that the problem of illiteracy is huge but requires coordination between the authorities and the citizens to improve the level of literacy of the nation.