High Literacy Rates, Progressive India, and a Regressive Society?

Every year India projects progressive literacy rates. There are numerous government-run educational initiatives that are relentlessly working towards spreading literacy and reaching remote areas to spread the need for it.

‘Educate The Girl Child’ has become a nationwide motto, ‘Each One, Teach One’ has been a longstanding vision and the current PM Narendra Modi said, ‘Education makes life self-reliant. It inspires a man to live with dignity in the society’.

The question here is, does a soaring literacy rate mean an educated society?

The terms ‘literacy’ and ‘education’ though similar in the broader sense, are not the same. Literacy, as the dictionary defines it, is the ability to write and read. Education, on the other hand, is much more than just that!

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Today, all Indian newspapers and news portals are flooded with reports of rapes and sexual assaults, murders and kidnapping, heinous crimes and petty ones; it’s the same in rural cities as well as the very ‘modern’ urban cities. India has grown in every field and made a global impact across technology, medicine, defence, space research, trade and commerce, inventions and discoveries – but at the ground level, the society is still struggling with social evils and stigmas. The caste system has been abolished by law, but does that mean it has left the society? Dowry is a punishable act by law, but does that mean it’s not clutching the society anymore?

Literacy Rates Vs Comprehensive Education

What India needs is comprehensive education and not just growing literacy rates. The society, as a whole, needs to be educated and developed. Reading and writing makes people capable but not responsible citizens. Education will bring in moral and social responsibility, the capacity to broaden one’s horizon and an independent thinking mind.

It’s redundant and backward thinking that needs to leave the society, it’s superstitions that need to be done and dusted with; India needs to evolve in its thinking. I’m not saying that there are no sections of educated societies in India, the problem is that the majority isn’t. It takes one driving force, one wind of change, and one army of strongly willed educationists to change the society; a nation.

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