Rajbiraj, June 17

An adult literacy campaign that was launched by District Education Office, Saptari about one-and-a-half years ago to combat illiteracy in Saptari has failed to meet its target.

The Intensive Literacy Campaign was launched as part of a broad government campaign with a plan to make some 100,243 illiterate people in the district literate by the end of 2015.

But the effectiveness the campaign has been called into question as many people in the district cannot even write their own names.

In a case in point, Kamaldevi Mandal of Saptari, Launiyan Village Development Committee participated in the campaign but has not even learned to set her hand to paper till date. “Although there were classes running, I could only attend a few because the monsoon had started by then and I had to work in the fields,” she shared.

Even people involved in the implementation of the campaign admitted that there was inordinate delay in conducting classes.

“Although classes were supposed to start from April/March, it took us more than a month to train facilitators, by which time the locals had to engage in their fields,” said Bhogendra Yadav, section officer at the District Education Office.

A literacy campaign had also been launched in 19 village development committees and Rajbiraj municipality a year prior to the Intensive Literacy Campaign, after which Maleth Village Development Committee was declared fully literate.

However, although it was claimed that the campaign made 947 people literate in Maleth VDC after which it was declared fully literate, a data taken a year later recorded 1,312 illiterate persons in the VDC.

Similarly, in Banaula village, the first count recorded 651 illiterate persons, but the same data was found to stand at 961 in the second count. Civil Network Saptari’s founding chairperson Sukharam Yadav blamed poor implementation for this discrepancy.

“The campaign should have been launched with proper consultation with stakeholders; without this, it had to fall flat,” he argued.

On his part, District Education Officer Laxmi Prasad Bhattarai acknowledged that the campaign had failed to meet the target, and said that there is a need to launch yet another complementary campaign.

The three-month long Intensive Literacy Campaign had been inaugurated by the then education minister Chitralekha Yadav in February 2015.