KATHMANDU: Literate Nepal Mission, under which the government aimed to make 1.74 million people literate within a year — by mid-July 2015, has turned out to be a major challenge.
The mission, launched in January 2013, and being implemented through the Non Formal Education Centre (NFEC) has been allocated Rs 1.05 billion this year for making 1.745334 million people literate.
In the last fiscal year, NFEC was supposed to make 1.6 million people literate, but even after spending Rs 998.9 million it was short of the target by 348,299.
Similarly, in 2012/13, the govenrment could make only 914,141 people literate against the target of 1.1 million. The gap was even bigger in 2011/12 when just 769,367 people were made literate out of the target of 1.03 million.
NFEC Director Baburam Poudel expressed his hope that the target of this year could be met by mobilizing the ninth and tenth graders to make the campaign successful.
“We have over half a million students at the secondary level, and if each of them take responsibility to make at least one person literate, then the target can be achieved easily,” Poudel told a press conference in the capital Sunday.
Likewise, the Ministry of Education is also mulling setting up a separate division to encourage voluntary participation of youths from various walks of life in the literacy campaign.
In a rush to meet the literacy goal of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), Nepal in 2002 had vowed to double its adult literacy by 2015. Nepal’s literacy rate was 54.1 percent in 2002, which is now 65.9 percent as per the National Census Report 2011.
A Household survey carried out by NFEC in 2010/2011 showed that 5.173979 million of the total population aged between 15 and 60 years are illiterate. On the basis of this survey, the government has deployed 207,000 volunteers and 20,700 monitoring officers to carry out the literacy campaign and attain the target of making 1.38 million people literate annually.
While launching the National Literacy Campaign, NFEC had modified the criteria for individuals to be termed literate. As per the new criteria, an individual who is able to read and write in Nepali or own native language, has basic ability to use mobile phone and calculator and is able to count up to 100 and can fill out bank vouchers and checks, among others, can be termed literate.
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