Kathmandu, September 3
The Non-Formal Education Centre today said 92.5 per cent of Nepali citizens between 15 and 60 years of age are literate.
Speaking at an interaction organised by the Education Journalists Network (EJON), Babu Ram Poudel, director, NFEC, said only 7.5 per cent of citizens between 15 and 60 years are illiterate.
“Till date, we have already declared 18 districts, 35 municipalities and 1,156 village development committees fully literate while Nuwakot and Bhaktapur will be declared fully literate districts before the International Literacy Day and the National Education Day, which fall on September 8.”
The government had launched National Literacy Campaign (NLC) seven years back to make all Nepalis literate and had declared fiscal year 2014/15 as the ‘Illiteracy Eradication Year’ but still 7.5 per cent of the target group remains illiterate.
Then finance minister Baburam Bhattarai had launched NLC in the fiscal year 2008/09 with the slogan ‘know letters, be civilised’ with a mission to eradicate illiteracy within two years. The government had allocated Rs 1.04 billion 40 for the purpose.
The number of illiterate citizens between 15 to 60 years of age in the country was around 7.8 million in 2008. However, the campaign could only make around 3.8 million Nepalis literate by 2009, leaving around four million people still illiterate.
A household survey conducted by NFEC in 2010 had found that a total of 5,173,979 Nepali citizens (3,435,336 women and 1,738,643 men) were illiterate. The literacy programme could make 349,963 and 769,367 Nepalis literate in 2010 and 2011 respectively. Similarly, the target of NFEC was to make 1,105,063 and 1,693,165 citizens literate in 2012 and 2013 respectively, but it could only make 914,141 and 1,344,866 literate in these two years.
The programme continued till fiscal year 2014/15, which was termed ‘Illiteracy Eradication Year’, but it failed to meet the target this year too. Of the total 1,745,334 illiterate people across the country, 1,497,372 were in 17 districts of the Tarai.
“The government could make 1,409,745 citizens literate in the fiscal year 2014/15,” Poudel said.
A version of this article appears in print on September 04, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.