Bhaktapur, September 7

Women outnumber men in adult literacy according to a data released by Non-Formal Education Centre (NFEC).

A household survey conducted by NFEC in 2010 showed there were 5.17 million illiterates in the country and of them 3.43 million (66.39 per cent) were women and 1.73 million (33.6 per cent) were men. By 2014, the number of literate women was 3.73 million and literate men was only 934,529.

The government had launched National Literacy Campaign in the fiscal year 2008/09 with the objective of making literate 7.8 million people between 15 and 60 years in two years, but only 3.8 million people were made literate.

However, a household survey found that there were still 5.1 million illiterate people in the country in 2010. Thus, NFEC launched the Literate Nepal Mission and conducted literacy classes.

In the year 2010, NFEC made literate 298,972 women and 50,991 men.

There were 999,240 women who were made literate from 2011 to 2014, while the number of literate men who became literate for the same period was 295,077.

NFEC said that till date 92.5 per cent adults have already received basic literacy classes and Nepal government has spent Rs 6.14 billion for the literacy campaign between 2008 to 2014.

Dinesh Ghimire, deputy director, NFEC today said that of the total literate people, around 75 per cent are women and 25 per cent are men.

According to National Census 2001, the literacy percentage for men was 65.5, while for women it was 42.8 per cent. These figures increased 75.1 per cent for men and 57.4 per cent for women in 2011. The literacy growth rate for men was 9.6 and for women it was 14.6 per cent.

“Men hesitate to attend literacy classes because the majority of students in the classroom are women,” Ghimire said, adding, “The current progress in women’s literacy will pick up pace by the time of the next census in 2021.”

In addition, the neo-literate women have also joined adult non-formal schools for further education after attending literacy classes.

In the past few years, NFEC had also provided income generation programmes along with literacy classes to encourage women to learn basic literacy skills and to make them understand the importance and benefit of education in daily life.

“Many literate women have been economically empowered after starting income generation activities in their hometown and some of them have also opened cooperatives in coordination with their fellows,” Ghimire added.

Currently, NFEC runs 29 open schools (lower secondary level), 333 Adult Non-Formal Schools and 2,151 Community Learning Centres across the country to provide literacy classes, post literacy classes and income generation programmes.

The NFEC is also planning to provide further education to 146,010 neo-literates by the end of the current fiscal year with the help of 6,945 facilitators in 2,151 CLCs.