In 2001, the census revealed that the Bangalore literacy percentage was 82. 96, while it increased to 88.48 per cent according to the 2011 census.
But during these ten years, there were several initiatives which were taken up to ensure that the city, which has been considered to be silicon valley, gets rid of the illiteracy menace.
For example, in 2003, on World Literacy Day, it was proposed that the MLA whose constituency has registered the highest literacy rate in the state will be honoured and the MLA for the lowest literate constituency will also be called on stage - in an effort to shame him to improve the situation! In 2009, BBMP took up the drive to set an exemplary target of 100 per cent literacy rate in Bangalore.
Then BBMP special commissioner Maheshwara Rao had said, “We need more volunteers to help reach the target, which is now pegged at 86 per cent in corporation schools. We are also looking forward to a literacy programme exclusively for 10,540 BBMP pourakarmikas who have little or no access to education.”
According to the 2011 census, gender wise, male and female literacy were 91.82 and 84.80 respectively.
For 2001 census, same figures stood at 87.92 and 77.48 in Bangalore District. Total literate in Bangalore District were 7,609,962 of which male and female were 4,146,709 and 3,463,253 respectively.
In 2001, Bangalore District had 4,782,565 in its district. But still, bitter facts remain. With the unorganised growth of the city and a similar growth in the population - with people coming from across the country - especially labourers, the official figure of literacy and population seems to be skewed.
Another issue which is garnering attention is apart from the reading and writing ability, there are other forms of illiteracy which is hampering the city especially because of its rampant growth. This illiteracy is prevalent among highly educated people as well. These include legal illiteracy, water illiteracy, civic illiteracy, environment illiteracy, digital illiteracy among others.
Each of these are significant and play an integral part in our everyday lives. Knowing ones rights as a consumer, as a land owner, as a house owner, etc; knowledge about water saving; knowledge about cleanliness, garbage segregation, spitting, open urination; polluting the environment; technological understanding in an IT environment, etc, find themselves lacking in abundance among Bangaloreans.
This has mainly increased the reputation of Bangalore as a city which is growing but is not bothered gaining control over itself through a selfrealisation of their contribution and its significance.
This World Literacy Day, we just hope that other than just reading and writing, Bangaloreans become more literate in significant aspects that are slowly denting its global reputation.