Literary campaign to begin from mid-NovThe last phase of the ‘Literate Nepal Mission’ aimed at attaining total literacy by next year is set to begin across the country from mid-November.
The Non Formal Education Centre (NFEC) has decided to start literacy classes from November 17 in 16 Tarai districts and Nuwakot, where the illiteracy is higher. The NFEC will run some 22,000 classes in the districts while students from grade 9 and 10 will be mobilised in the remaining districts where the illiteracy rate is lower. Starting this year, the Ministry of Education has made it mandatory for students from secondary level to participate in adult literacy programmes. Students from grade nine or ten must contribute as part of their practicum or an optional subject.
Out of the 25 marks for practical skills in the School Leaving Certificate examinations, 10 will be for their performance in the literacy campaign. The Curriculum Development Centre has formulated four options for their literacy practical classes—students can either directly teach in such classes or collect data of illiterate people from their surroundings. They can also monitor ongoing classes, submit reports to their school under the supervision of District Education Offices and also take charge of an individual illiterate person to make him/her able to read and write within three months. The students are expected to make 308,162 people literate.
“One student will be assigned with one illiterate person. If they complete the task they will be awarded with 10 marks in SLC,” said Bishnu Prasad Mishra, deputy director at the NFEC. A total of 1,745,334 adult illiterate people will be enrolled in the classes for three months to attain total literacy.
A door-to-door survey showed there were 4,054,649 uneducated adults in the country in fiscal year 2012-13. Around 915,000 of them became literate through campaigns held in the year while 1.34 million benefited from classes in the fiscal 2013-14. This shows 1.74 million people are still illiterate.
The government has declared 2014-15 as the Illiteracy Elimination Year. According the NFEC, only 1,745,334 people above 15 years of age are illiterate. The NFEC has decided to recruit some 20,000 teachers and mobilise students and volunteers. Rs 1.05 billion will be spent for the programme this year. Of the total illiterates, 1.46 million illiterate people are from the 16 Tarai districts and Nuwakot. The government has already declared Sindhupalchok, Lalitpur, Palpa, Dhading and Mustang as “total literate” areas on the basis of 95 percent literacy rate.
Last year, the government initiated the ‘Literate Nepal Mission’ as per the global commitment to eliminate illiteracy by 2015 as envisaged by the Millennium Development Goals. Past records of the NFEC, however, portray a dubious picture. The literacy programmes have never met their target in the past five years. Only 1.8 million benefited from the drive in 2009 against the target of 2.3 million, while only 1 million benefited in 2010 against the target of 1.2 million.
The target of making 612,920 literate in 2011 was unmet too. Likewise, only 1.3 million became literate last year against the target of 1.69 million. The programme has cost more than Rs 5 billion so far.