Social Scientist. v 4, no. 40-41 (Nov-Dec 1975) p. 134.

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Literacy: Doorway to Liberation

IN INDIA the status of women has never been on a par with that in the developed countries. Low levels of living, literacy and inter-spouse communication combined with economic dependence, ignorance and tradition stand in the way of improving it. Of these factors, literacy and education play a predominant role. This article attempts to examine the progress of Indian women in respect of education and educational opportunity.

In the spread of education in India, the contribution of Christian missionaries has been the most outstanding. It was they who originated the idea of imparting instruction to Indian women by establishing exclusive schools in 1819. Their activities ultimately gave rise to an enlightend public opinion and, in spite of opposition from orthodox sections, to increasing realization of the importance of female education./ The emphasis on female education by Christian missionaries, Indian reformers as well as women leaders ultimately became the most potent factor in spreading a wave of self-consciousness among the women of India. Almost all the women's organizations voiced the demand for universal, free and compulsory education and facilities of higher and technical education for women.1 With the attainment of independence, the need for a different orientation became imperative but hardly any effort has been made to change the structure and pattern of education or relate it to the mobilization

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