The total number of Bengali Speakers in India according to 2001 census is 83,369,769 of which 42,889,519 are male and 40,480,250 are female.
The Table below shows Mother tongues grouped under Bengali Language
|Mother Tongues||Number of Speakers|
The main places of habitat of the Bangla speech community are West Bengal, Assam, Jharkhand, Tripura, Orissa, Bihar, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Meghalaya, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Mizoram, Nagaland, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, Haryana, Manipur, Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir.
The following table gives a picture of Male-Female distribution of Bengali speakers, inhabited in the States and Union Territories of India, as per 2001 census.
|India/State/Union Territory||Total Number of Persons||Male||Female|
|Andaman & Nicobar Islands||91,582||49,803||41,779|
|Jammu & Kashmir||14,416||12,017||2,399|
The following table gives the picture of Rural-Urban distribution of Bengali speakers in the States and Union Territories of India, as per 2001 census:
|Jammu and Kashmir||14,416||4,480||9,936|
|Daman and Diu||1,810||1,533||277|
|Dadra and nagar Haveli||1,382||847||535|
|Andaman and Nicobar Islands||91,582||80,218||11,364|
The table below shows the decennial growth of Bengali speakers in 4 consecutive census.
|Year||Language Speakers||Decadal Percentage Increase|
The total population of West Bengal according to 2001 census is 80,176,197. The below given table gives the picture of rural-urban distribution of population in the State.
List of religion-wise (male-female) population figures in West Bengal, based on 2001 Census
|Religion not stated||54|
The following table shows the SC -ST population in West Bengal.
Literacy rate is quite good among the Bangla speech community. According to the 1981 census, the literacy rate in West Bengal was 48.64%, whereas according to the 2001 census (excluding children of 0 to 6 years age group), it is 68.64%.
The decennial male-female literacy rate is presented in the following table.
The following table shows the Rural-Urban / Male-female literacy rate, as per 2001 census:
Both government as well as non-governmental organizations are involved in the field of education and literacy. In the earlier days, missionaries also played an important role for the promotion of literacy and education in West Bengal.
Some of the notable government departments and organizations that thrived for the promotion of literacy, are
1. Department of mass Education (Bikash Bhavan, Salt Lake, Kolkata) 2. Barigīya Sākhsaratā Prasār Samiti (Begbagan, kolkata)
The names of the non-governmental organization that can be mentioned are
1. Bengal Mass Education Society (Bidhan Sarani, Kolkata) 2. Calcutta Social Project (Motilal Nehru Road, Kolkata)
Apart from these, there are many NGOs which work for the promotion of literacy as a part of their wider field of Social activities.
As a result of the promotion activities of both governmental and non-governmental agencies, the literacy rate (as compared with 1981 and the 1991 census), has increased significantly in West Bengal (2001 census).
There has been a considerable development in the field of literacy and education which has led to the formation of 67,926 schools in West Bengal. (according to the 2001-2002 report provided by the Education department of the government of West Bengal). Out of these 67,926 schools, 56,486 are primary schools and the rest 11,440 are meant for secondary education. This has resulted in the growth of literacy rate from 57.71% (1991) to 68.64% (2001) in general.
The social awareness that has been promoted through audio-visual media, print media, local administration, health organizations, etc. has motivated the women of West Bengal, especially in the rural areas, to become literates. Attending schools has been initiated by the government by providing free books and papers, free lunch and such other incentives. The literacy rate of women in West Bengal is 59.61% whereas in case of men it is 77.02%( according to the 2001 census).
Formal education in West Bengal is imparted through schools, colleges, Universities and various other vocational institutions. Such formal institutions are governmental, government sponsored, private and missionary.
The program of non-formal education or social education in West Bengal includes literacy, political and economic education, health education, leisure education, etc. Adult literacy program in West Bengal has been integrated with community development scheme through rural mass media centers, night schools, jail schools, documentary films shows, mobile libraries, etc. Training colleges for the training of adult education for teachers and social workers have been introduced which impart training in agriculture, crafts, poultry, co-operative, health, etc. The agencies that have been involved in the promotion of non-formal education in West Bengal are gram panchayats, co-operative societies, professional unions and organizations. The formation of the state Adult Education Board under National Adult Education Board has led to the promotion of non-formal education and integrated education.
The impact of formal education in West Bengal is reflected in the establishment of the number of schools, college and universities all over the state. According to the report of 2001-2002, the total number of schools in West Bengal is 67,926 and the total number of colleges is approximately 400 . There are a number of universities like university of Calcutta, Jadawpur university, Rabindra Bharati university, Burdwan university, Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswa Vidyalaya, Visva Bharati university, Netaji Subhas open university, West Bengal university of Technology, West Bengal university of Animal and Fishery Sciences, Bengal Engineering college (Deemed university), West Bengal National university of Juridical Science (recent establishment), Vidyasagar university & Uttar Bangla Krishi Vishwavidyalaya. There are a number of premier institutes like Indian statistical Institute, Indian Institute of Technology, Indian Institute of Management, etc. In the state, various vocational training colleges promote specialized education in the various field like Information Technology, Designing, management, mass communication, Film study, etc. They also contribute to the development of the formal education system in West Bengal.
The movement for women education in Bengal constitutes an integral part of the effort on women's education in India. It is adjudged that the progress in women's education was best in India in 1984. Apart from co-educational schools and colleges, there are separate schools and colleges for girls. In rural areas 2/3 of the girls at the secondary level and ½ of the girls at the collegiate level read in co-education schools on equal terms.
The impact of non-formal education in the establishment of 17119 non-formal centers in the state can be found here. Among these, 3184 non-formal centers are owned by voluntary agencies and the rest by the state government. With the implementation of non-formal education during the 6th Five year plan, 8460 non-formal educational instructors were given orientation training. The beneficiaries of this non-formal education were 429770 by 1984-85, out of which 190340 were women.
As an integral part of adult education drive, the library services in the district level, sub-divisional level and rural areas were strengthened. West Bengal Library Act was passed in 1979. According to the Directorate of Library services, government of West Bengal, during 1999-2000, the total number of public Libraries ,which included both government and government Libraries were 11, district or sponsored libraries were 19, town libraries or divisional libraries were 229. Primary unit or rural libraries were 2209 in number.
The curriculum for non-formal education was finalized and the instructional materials were developed, and were supplied to the beneficiaries, free of cost.
As a result of all these, steps were taken by the government as well as Non-governmental organizations, some success regarding promotion of education were attained and some consciousness was developed among the adult population, especially women.
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