Illiteracy census begins today

Madhyapur Thimi, December 15:

The government will begin collecting data on illiterate persons throughout the nation tomorrow in order to make National Literacy Campaign more effective and result-oriented.

The government had announced to initiate NLC in this year’s policy and programmes and allocated Rs 1.04 billion for the purpose.

Ministry of Education has prepared ‘National Literacy Campaign Programme Implementation Directives-2008’ targeting to include all citizens between 15 and 60 years of age.

While the government’s rough figure shows that there are around 11.7 million people in the age-group, who qualify to receive basic education (reading, writing and elementary arithmetic), the campaign targets to make around 7.8 million people literate in two years.

Data collection should be over by January 14 when the campaign kicks off.

Laxman Khanal, deputy director of Non-Formal Education Centre, told The Himalayan Times that the government had chosen one volunteer for each ward in all VDCs and municipalities to prepare the database.

“Though the total duration of classes in each phase is three months, we have allocated four months for the first phase of the programme, including a month for data collection,” Khanal said.

The government has prepared a form to be filled separately by each household, mentioning the number of illiterate persons aged between 15 and 60 years.

Khanal said, “Minimum qualification of a trainer for the first phase is SLC but due to lack sufficient candidates in the ward those enrolled in Grade X will also be inducted. If the need be Grade VIII pass-outs will be taken in.”

He said, “Preferably intermediate degree holders or SLC pass candidates will be deployed in the second phase. Khanal further added that Dalit, women, Janajati and people of backward communities well versed in the local language would get priority for the post of volunteers.

Those selected as volunteers or trainers will be given certificates and a monthly allowance of Rs 1,000.”

The government has formed committees subordinate to High Level National Literacy Campaign Coordination Committee for NLC’s effectiveness, which include ministers, VDC chairpersons or municipality officials, party representatives, school principals and others at different levels.