Hyderabad: Rural parts of undivided Andhra’s literacy rate is less than the average literacy rate of the country, the minister of human resource development, Ramesh Pokhriyal, said on 6 February.
According to the Census 2011 data, literacy rate of women above the age of seven in rural parts of undivided Andhra Pradesh is 51.54 per cent, while the national average literacy rate is 57.93 per cent. Meanwhile, the literacy rate of men above the age of seven is 69.38 per cent, while the national average is 77.15 per cent.
This is because the government of both the states did not focus on adult education, says Dr Mamatha Raghuveer Achanta, who has been working on women's welfare for the past 20 years. “The Andhra Pradesh government had a successful self-help group movement. But they only asked women to sign and didn’t actually educate them. That was the major issue. Other programmes like Akshara Bharathi programmes launched in the late 2000s were also not successful in most parts of the state.”
She said Andhra Pradesh and Telangana is now home to many first-generation college-goers whose parents did not go to college. Comparing undivided Andhra Pradesh to Tamil Nadu and Kerala she said, “The number of institutions during the British period and even after Independence was less in Andhra Pradesh compared to the neighbouring states. Because of Nizam’s rule in Telangana and Madaras Presidency in Andhra Pradesh, women’s education took a backseat and even now there are not many women’s college in Andhra Pradesh. Many women drop out after school.” She said only five per cent of women in Andhra opt for a Bachelor’s degree.
Women started enrolling in professional courses, like medicine and engineering, only after 2009 when Women's Reservation Bill was passed, providing 30 per cent reservation in professional courses for women, she said, “Another factor that affects women’s education is security issues. Due to security reasons, most women drop out of colleges. The government should take essential steps to ensure the safety of women inside university campuses.”
Under the Centre's Saakhar Bharath scheme a total of 19,25,102 learners (3,46,886 men and 15,78,216 women) and 20,31,913 learners (4,49,497 men and 15,82,416 women) were certified in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, respectively, from 2014-15 to 2017-18, said the Andhra Pradesh education ministry.