Census data reveals educational backwardness among the impaired
The education level among the disabled stands far below that of the general population. Latest data from the Census 2011 confirms this. It shows that only 54.5 percent of the disabled aged seven years or above could read and write with understanding. (Please see table 1).
As per the Census 2011, the population of disabled in the country is 2.68 crore, out of which about 1.22 crore are illiterate and 1.46 crore literate. It is worth noting that since Census 1991 the population of children in the age group of 0-6 years has been included in the category of ‘illiterate’ in accordance with the definition of literacy, and the population aged seven years and above has been classified as either ‘literate’ or ‘illiterate’.
Among the disabled or differently-abled the male literacy rate is 62.4 percent whereas the female literacy rate stands at 44.6 percent. (Please see the table 1).
The Census 2011 data indicates that the overall literacy rate in the country is 74 percent -- 82.1 percent for males and 65.5 percent for females.
The literacy rate among the differently-abled stands at 48.9 percent in rural areas as compared to 67.3 percent in urban areas. The Census 2011, however, shows that the overall literacy rate in rural and urban areas are 68.9 percent and 85.0 percent, respectively.
Among the various categories of disabled population, the literacy rate is highest among persons with disability in movement (60.2 percent) and lowest among persons with multiple disability (33.3 percent).
Table 1: Status of education among disabled population during Census 2011
Source: Table C-29 Disabled Population by type of disability, educational Level and sex - 2011 (India & States/UTs), Census 2011, please click here to access
The proportion of disabled population by type of disability is as follows: in seeing (18.8 percent); in hearing (18.9 percent); in speech (7.5 percent); in movement (20.3 percent); mental retardation (5.6 percent); mental illness (2.7 percent); any other (18.4 percent); and multiple disability (7.9 percent).
About 4.6 percent of disabled population is graduate or above. Roughly 3.4 percent of female disabled persons and 5.6 percent of male disabled persons are graduate and above. The percentage of disabled who are graduate and above is higher in the urban areas (10.2 percent) as compared to the rural areas (2.2 percent).
The percentage of disabled who are graduate and above is highest for persons with disability in 'any other' category (5.6 percent), followed by persons with disability in speech (5.4 percent). It is lowest for persons with multiple disability (1.4 percent).
Among other things, it can be observed from table 1 that the percentage of disabled who completed education of Matric/ Secondary level but below graduation is 12.9 percent.
The document entitled Some Inputs for Draft National Education Policy 2016, prepared by the Ministry of Human Resource Development says that disabled children form a significant proportion of out-of-school children.
Notwithstanding anything contained in the Rights of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act (2009), the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities Bill (2014), which was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on 7 February, 2014, mandates free and compulsory education of all disabled children between 6 to 18 years. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Rights of the Persons with Disabilities Bill (2014) in its report submitted on 7 May, 2015 has recommended for raising the upper age limit of free education to 21 years, among other things.
Disabled Population by type of disability, educational Level and sex - 2011 (India & States/UTs), Census 2011, please click here to access the data
Status of Literacy, Provisional results of Census 2011, please click here to access
Census of India 2011: Rural-Urban distribution of population (Provisional population totals), Registrar General and Census Commissioner, Ministry of Home Affairs, 15 July, 2011, please click here to access
Some Inputs for Draft National Education Policy 2016, Ministry of Human Resource Development, please click here to access
2015-16 Annual Report of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, please click here to access
Standing Committee Report Summary: The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014, PRS Legislative Research, 26 May, 2015, please click here to access
The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill 2014 (as introduced in the Rajya Sabha), Bill no. I of 2014, please click here to access
Bill Summary: The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill 2014, PRS Legislative Research, 27 February, 2014, please click here to access
Overview of Statistical Evidences on Disability, MoSPI, 11 March, 2011, please click here to access
Disability Rises in Urban India: Census 2011, Inclusive Media for Change newsalert, 29 December, 2013, please click here to access
Census 2011 records rise in literacy among disabled -Samarth Bansal, The Hindu, 16 July, 2016, please click here to access
Rise in number of literates among disabled, The Indian Express, 16 July, 2016, please click here to access
Image Courtesy: MKSS Rajasthan