Avinash pandey


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Reading out of the “idiot box”: same-language subtitling on television in India

Year of Publication 2005

A nation’s literacy rate is determined, to a great degree, by the deªnition of literacy and the method used to measure it. Countries struggling to achieve higher rates often tend to lower deªnitional bars, which then makes progress that much easier. India is no exception, and this raises simple but unanswered questions. How many of India’s literate people— literate according to the Census—can read the headlines of a newspaper?

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Same language subtitling: a butterfly for literacy?

Year of Publication 2002

India has a literacy challenge that few in the official apparatus acknowledge. A majority of those who are officially enumerated  as “literate” in the national Census cannot read simple texts meaningfully.1  They cannot, for example, read the day’s newspaper headline in any language of their choice or a story pitched at a second- grade level. They cannot perform some of the simplest functions a literate person would be expected to per- form. Then why do we call them “literate”?  That is because when the Census ªeldworker visited and asked them—and that happens

every 10 years—they  self-reported  as “literate.”