World Bank (2000) presents horrible situation of the world as:
Ø 880 million or more illiterate adults and youth 60 percent of them women
Ø 130 million out –of – school children aged 6-11 about 60 percent of them girls
Ø Several million functional illiterates whose education is not sufficient to cope social and economic transformation
This undeniable huge number of illiterates, large number of out of school children and disparity between male and female is advocated by UNESCO Institute of Statistics (2006) “According to the most recent UIS data, there are an estimated 781 million illiterate adults in the world, about 64%of who are women.”
UNESCO Institute for Statistics (2006) “The adult literacy rate for South Asia during the year 2002-04 was 58.7% for both sexes, for male 70.5% and for female 46.3%.” These illiterates are the hindrance in the development of the nations. The gender gap in the year 2002-04 is 24.2. This fact indicated the under privilege and unfavorable situation for females literacy in South Asia. Sri Lanka and Maldives are not gender biased as a result, in Sri Lanka female literacy rate is more than male.According to EFA global monitoring report 2005/06
Women’s literacy is the crucial importance in addressing wider issues of gender inequality .yet, women still account for the majority of adults illiterates in most of the E-9 countries, with some of them are showing substantial gender disparities in literacy. In Bangladesh, Egypt, India and Pakistan- the E-9 countries with the lowest over all literacy rates-less than 70 women are literate for every 100 literate men.
In South Asia there exist huge gender gap with low literacy of female as indicated by Khan, R.S (1993) “South Asia is the region, along with sub-Saharan Africa, in which girl’s education lags behind boys education most dramatically. At secondary and tertiary levels South Asia has the largest gender gap of any developing region.” The present picture of gender gap in South Asia indicates the huge challenges in the female literacy. In countries where over all literacy rates are comparatively low, male/female and urban/rural disparities are also large.