Kanchanpur literacy programme ‘ineffective’

- BHAWANI BHATTA, Kanchanpur

Aug 9, 2014-

Non-formal education classes for the elderly in the district have been ineffective though millions of rupees has been spent on the programme for years.

Though the programme continues to be conducted, none of the concerned agencies have official data on the expenditure and number of people who have benefitted.

“We do not have the exact data about the number of illiterates in the district nor do we have the statistics about those benefiting from such programme,” said Assistant District Education Officer Padam Raj Joshi.

According to the District Education Office, around 39,000 elderly were educated during the literacy campaign launched last year to make the district as fully literate one. However, education facilitators claimed that the condition is such that those named literate cannot even write their own name.

Meanwhile, Ramesh Joshi, headmaster of the Tilachaur-based Tribhuwan Secondary School said that one of the major causes behind the failure of the programme was the decision of the District Education Office (DEO) to hand over the responsibility of supervision and monitoring to NGOs.

“The volunteers never organised the classes at target areas and that the materials provided for elderly education were found to be used by school children,” he said.

According to the DEO, more than 70,000 elderly have been educated through the programme over the past five years.

Based on the DEO data, approximately 250,000 should have been educated by such classes initiated 22 years ago. And, if we are to take into consideration the classes held after 2013, the number of literate people exceeds the total population of the district.

According to the 2011 census, the total population of the district figured at 451,246 and the number of literate comprised 70.67 percent. According to the census, the number of illiterates is 51,246, including mostly of those above 50 years of age.

Claiming that only 20-25 percent of the classes were actually conducted last year and only names were collected to fill the quotas, headmaster Joshi alleged that the DEO figures were unrealistic. More than Rs 2 million was spent on such programmes in various parts of the district.

Meanwhile, the DEO claimed that the number of illiterates in the district had reduced to 3,000-5,000, against that of 71,423 three years ago. “We are planning to mobilise students to collect data on the number of illiterate people in the district now on,” Assistant District Education Officer Joshi said.

However, DEO officials said that not even half of those attending the non-formal classes have been benefited and that in some cases names of college students were found to be used as beneficiaries.

Published: 10-08-2014 09:45

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