“I very much doubt that Andhra Pradesh could do this badly in terms of literacy rates,” Sai Deepak, a native Gunturer from Hyderabad, told IANS.
According to the NSO poll, the southern state ranks lowest in the country among Bihar, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.
T. Suguna Rao, a retired teacher from an assisted school in the West Godavari district of Coastal AP, neither agreed nor disagreed with NSO’s assessment.
“It appears that AP’s literacy rate is 64 percent,” Rao said without commenting, but didn’t look convinced.
Following Rao, the Bhimavaram-based Pradeep, an MSc graduate in fisheries said he couldn’t say much about this development either. “I’m not sure,” said Pradeep.
But Rao’s wife, T.D. Vakyamani, also a retired teacher from a state school, said NSO’s assessment may be correct.
The AP literacy rate is estimated at 73.4 percent for men and 59.5 percent for women, a difference of 13.9 percentage points between the sexes.
While the literacy rate is rated the lowest overall, the gap between men and women is no worse or better than Rajasthan (23.2 percent), Uttar Pradesh (18.4 percent), Jharkhand (18.3 percent), and others.
Sagnik Choudhary, a retail professional who studied in Hyderabad when Andhra Pradesh was reunited, is not convinced of the difference in literacy rates between men and women.
Whether or not the NSO ranks AP as the lowest literacy state, several cities and a few cities in the state are major educational centers that attract thousands of students to study.
Vijayawada, Guntur, Nellore, Bhimavaram, Kakinada, Vishakapatnam, Rajamundry, Kurnool and others are known for famous schools, junior middle schools and several engineering schools.
Some of the private schools like Sri Chaitany and Naraya have expanded their branches across the country and are out of the state.
Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, both Telugu states, send significant numbers of students to the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), the leading technical schools in India, each year.
AP is also known for having a large number of students migrating to the United States for advanced studies.