Mumbai’s suburban district and not the island city is the most literate area in Maharashtra with 90.90 per cent literacy rate according to the 2011 census provisional data announced on Friday. Close behind is Nagpur at 89.5 per cent and Mumbai’s island city at 88.48 per cent.
On the other hand, Pune district — known as an education hub — finished seventh with 87.19 per cent, behind Amravati, Akola and Wardha, which stood fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.
Suburban Mumbai’s overall literacy rate has gone up by 4 per cent from 86.89 per cent in 2001 to 90.90per cent in 2011, while Mumbai has witnessed a marginal increase of 2 per cent in the last decade.
Mumbai’s suburbs also ranked first for male and female literacy.
Male literacy in the district has touched 94.82 per cent from 91.56 per cent in 2001 and female literacy has gone up five per cent from 81.12 per cent in 2001 to 86.93per cent in 2011.
“It is possible for Mumbai to surpass this rate. We should raise the parameters of measuring literacy as the current parameters are not up to the mark,” said Dr Madhav Chavan, president, Pratham Education NGO.
Even rural areas have shown a good rise in literacy rates. Gadchiroli is still the second lowest educated district in the state, with 70.55 per cent literacy, a rise nevertheless, from 60.10 per cent in 2001.
The district with the lowest literacy remains Nandurbar at 63.04 per cent, up from 55.78 per cent in the last decade. Similarly, Nanded, Hingoli, Parbhani, Jalna and Aurangabad have witnessed 8-10 per cent increase in literacy in 2001-11.
“From 1995 onwards, huge efforts were made towards compulsory primary education. Besides, various education programmes and the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan have resulted in the increase in overall literacy,” said Basanti Roy, former divisional secretary of Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education, Mumbai Division.