The 2001 census recorded 92 languages, while the Ethnologue, 16th edition, claims 124 living languages and Yonjan-Tamang (2006) claims over 143 languages. The Indo-Aryan language group is the largest in terms of the number of speakers (some 80% of all speakers) while the Tibeto-Burman branch has the largest number of languages (57). The rest are Austro-Asiatic and Dravidian, with one linguistic isolate, Kusunda (Yadava and Turin 2006: 7). Nineteen languages are estimated as being on the verge of extinction (Yadava and Grove 2008). Fewer than 20 languages have more than 100,000 speakers. The literacy rate in the 2001 census was 54%: 65% for males, 42% for females. With 2005-2007 data, the literacy rate for adults (15 years and older) was 56.5% (70.3 for males, 43.6 for females; for youth between 15 and 24 it was 79.3% (85.3 for males, 73.0

for females) (Global Education Digest 2009, Table 15, p. 192). Nepali is the main language of teaching. Teaching Indigenous, tribal and minority (ITM) children through the medium of a language that they do not understand obviously contributes to the low literacy rates (see National Assessment, 2008).