(ii) political/ideological background,
(iii) type of economy,
(iv) standard of living,
(v) degree of urbanization,
(vi) stage of technological advancement,
(vii) degree of development of means of transportation and communication,
(viii) religious background,
(ix) medium of instruction,
(x) status of women in the society,
(xi) prejudices against the females’ mobility and education,
(xii) availability of educational institutions,
(xiii) general value system, and
(xiv) public policies.
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The political situation and administrative governance have affected the rate of literacy in the ex-colonial countries.
In general, the literacy rate in the former colonies has been generally low. The present governments in these countries have taken the literacy drive, but the scarcity of resources is coming in the way of eradication of illiteracy.
In the latter part of the 20th century, the areas of isolation and relative isolation have been connected by metalled roads.
The developments of transport network and improved accessibility have increased the spatial interaction. The so-called rural isolation has been broken.
The educational institutions in the urban areas now have become accessible to the countryside. The rural masses of the developing countries are now increasingly appreciating the importance of education and literacy. In the propagation of education, the role of religion is also quite vital.
Similarly, language in which the education is usually imparted is another important determinant of literacy rate in an area. The mother tongue as a medium of instruction can help to accentuate the literacy rate.
Discrimination and prejudice against females also affect adversely the literacy rate in a region. Those societies which do not accord equal status to females suffer from low female literacy rates.
Similarly, societies where females are not allowed to go out or which suffer from the prejudice against females’ education also display low female literacy and hence low general literacy.
It is perhaps the main reason for low literacy rate among the Muslim women. The availability of educational institutions is also largely responsible for the enhancement of literacy rate.
The literacy rate is also closely influenced by the type of economy. The differences in the literacy levels of the industrial and agricultural nations contrast so much that one cannot help inferring a correlation between the type of economy and the literacy rates.
The requirements of the non-agricultural economy are such that acquisition of literacy skills becomes a functional prerequisite. On the other hand, the agricultural operations, especially in the developing countries, are such that these do not have any demand on education.
The standard of living also affects the literacy rate. In general, there is a positive correlation between the literacy level and the standard of living.
Such a correlation has greater significance for poor countries where the appalling poverty of masses demands different priorities. The factor of cost of education is also important as the poor people cannot afford the high cost of education.
It is difficult to expect the children belonging to the families below the poverty line to go to schools. The experience of India in this regard reveals that even if the education is made compulsory and free, the extremely poor families will prefer their children to help them in supplementing income, howsoever, meager it may be, rather than sparing them for school.
The level of urbanization is also an important determinant of literacy. There is also a relationship between literacy rate and the degree of urban development. Thus, the most urbanized societies have a very high or even universal literacy rate, while the rural and agrarian societies have low level of literacy rates.