Lit drive gets cold shoulder

- BINOD GHIMIRE, Kathmandu

Dec 16, 2014-

A majority of the District Education Offices (DEO) have given a cold shoulder to the government’s ambitious Literate Nepal Mission aimed at attaining total literacy by next year.

Just two districts abided by the Non-Formal Education Centre (NFEC)’s plan to begin classes across the country from November 17. According to NFEC, only Dang and Nuwakot DEOs have commenced the literacy classes while other districts are still in the process of hiring teachers and conducting trainings. The government aims at attaining total literacy by enrolling 1.74 million adult illiterates in around 22,000 classes across the country with due focus on 16 districts from Tarai and Nuwakot where illiteracy remains high.

The NFEC plans to conduct formal classes in the 17 districts and mobilise students from grades nine and ten in remaining districts where the number of illiterates is low. Ministry of Education (MoE) has made it mandatory for students from secondary level to participate in adult literacy programme as a part of their curriculum.

Students from grades nine or ten must attend the literacy classes which will be worth 10 marks in the School Leaving Certificate examination.

According to the government data, the number of illiterates in the country between 15 to 60 years age group stands at 1,745,334.”The classes could not start in stipulated time due to logistics problem in districts,” said Bishnu Prasad Mishra, deputy director at NFEC. “Despite the delay we hope to meet our target by 2015.”

Mishra claimed that other districts have almost completed teacher selection and their training. He further said that NFEC’s plan to change the modality has also led to the delay in starting classes within the scheduled time.

After reports claiming that literacy classes were not effective and a fake list of students was presented as literates, the MoE has directed all the districts to put the names of students in the public places such as the VDC offices.

The last five years of the campaign shows that it has never met the target, creating suspicion that the programme will not meet its target by next year.

The government record show 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 not met as well. Likewise, only 1.3 million became literate last year against the target of 1.69 million.

The government has allocated some Rs 6 billion for the programme so far.

 

Published: 17-12-2014 09:18

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