Andhra asks NSO to explain literacy survey methodology

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Amaravati, Sep 16 (IANS) Andhra Pradesh Commissioner of School Education, V Chinaveerabhadrudu, has written to the National Statistical Office (NSO) to understand more about the intricacies of an NSO survey after the state was rated worst in literacy in a certain category.

“Prima facie, there are grounds to reexamine the report. I would like to get into the sample methodology and questionnaire to understand the report better,” Chinaveerabhadrudu told IANS while pointing out that it was important to understand how the NSO had carried out the survey.

For 2017-18, the NSO rated the southern state lower than Bihar, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh in literacy rate for individuals above seven years of age.

The NSO allegedly surveyed 5,000 persons in some districts and even less in some others to arrive at this conclusion.

“I had asked the people concerned (NSO surveyors) to come and discuss the survey with me. They asked me to contact the NSO head, which I have done, and am waiting to hear from the organisation,” he said.

The Commissioner said that prima facie, there appear to be some issues with the survey and the report needed a reexamination.

According to sources, the Andhra Pradesh government does not agree with the worst literacy billing the NSO gave to the state.

“No, we don’t agree with that report. We want to know what parametres the NSO has followed,” said a source.

“The state would like to contest it because (NSO) literacy rating is different from the Census literacy rate also done by the government of India in 2011,” said the source.

In the 2011 Census, Andhra’s literacy rate stood at 67 per cent while the NSO survey claimed the literacy rate was 64 per cent, pointing at a decline.

“Since we are almost 10 years from the last Census, in any way, the literacy rate should only be increasing and not decreasing,” the source pointed out.

According to the source, the NSO rating is only based on a sample survey, unlike the census which touches every family in the state.

“This is only a sample study — its main objective is not to find out the literacy rate, but about the consumption patterns. So, the data or observations of the NSO study about literacy are tangential or a byproduct of the research. The main objective is not to study literacy. So you need not give it more importance than what is required,” the source added.

Irrespective of the NSO adjudicating Andhra Pradesh as the lowest literate state, several towns and a few cities in the state are major educational hubs, drawing thousands of students for studies.

Vijayawada, Guntur, Nellore, Bhimavaram, Kakinada, Vishakapatnam, Rajamundry, Kurnool and others are known for famous schools, intermediate junior colleges and several engineering colleges.

Some of the private schools such as Sri Chaitany and Narayana have expanded their branches all over the country, originating from the state.

Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, both the Telugu states, send a sizeable number of students every year to the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), premier technical schools in India.

AP is also known for a high number of students who migrate to the US for higher studies.

(Sharon Thambala can be contacted at thamalasharon@gmail.com)

–IANS

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