Informal education should not be confined to only learning the preliminary letters and numbers but the programme planners should also focus their strategies to income generation through whatever is being taught.

This was what the participants of an interaction programme entitled ‘Necessary Informal Education Campaign in Nepal’ decided upon today in the capital. The programme was organised by Education Journalists’ group here today. The traditional methods of teaching of writing and reading have largely proved unsuccessful and a new approach to informal education system is felt necessary argued the participants.

Joint secretary of the ministry of education and sports, Yubaraj Pandey informed that the government intended the informal education to enable the beneficiaries to read and write only, as of now.

“Though the main aim of the programme is to enable them to read and write, income generating programmes might have been raised by the government as well to increase the interest on the learners and to fulfil the aim of the government,” he added. The government is not of the opinion that all the programmes can be executed only by it, but solicits the help and support of different non-governmental bodies and local support, including self participation of the masses, at the forefront, he added.

Programme co-ordinator Hari Thapa accused the government for not co-operating with the non-governmental organisations and doing whatever they wished. It is also said that the non-governmental bodies could have given pace to this campaign of increasing literacy rate had the government supported them enough.

The participants also informed that the failure for the duration of the programme being short and lacked continuity. People forget everything within a few years if whatever learned were not used after they learnt. Hence it is imperative, that they be given some job so that they retained what was being taught to them with so much of effort.

Director of the Community Literacy Project, Roshan Chitrakar informed that the project has found that equality in both sexes and social groups and places are the main elements for the people to reach on literacy and education. Entry of literacy rate into records is not as important as literacy represents different kinds of skills and capacities of different social groups and functional literacy is more important than theoretical concepts.

He also opined that literacy programme is the main force to eliminate poverty and social discrimination.

Satya Bahadur Shrestha, head of the informal education division suggested that this widely used term is being misused by people. Commenting upon the group’s accusation of the data being not scientific, he said that the council for informal education is not responsible for it.

He also informed that due to the limitations in head-counts the census might not give exact figure. Those peoples have been categorised into three categories – illiterate, semi-literate and literate defining them precisely. The category according to Shrestha is set after the experiences accumulated in the Asia pacific region. “The most effective programme ever launched is the income generating ones,” he added. Community Learning Centre (CLC) is one of such centre that conducts income generating training programmes.

Ananda Lal Shrestha, Vice president of National informal education source centre said that there is no proper process of monitoring and supervision. He suggested that the vision of the campaign should be learning, earning and living. Professor of Tribhuvan University Rukmini Bajracharya also highlighted on the necessity of learning associated with immediate returns.