Most people of Banke illiterate, still depend on thumbprint

Banke, January 2

Banke, the district in the southern plain of Province 5, does not hesitate to produce annual report showing progress in its literacy status, but the reality is that more than 80,000 people here are still illiterate.

Illiteracy is not the issue of only rural areas, it is also prevalent in areas inside Nepalgunj sub-metropolis, one of the major cities in the district.

The number of people who cannot read and write is considerable in Wards No 1 and 24 of Nepalgunj sub-metropolis. These wards have been already declared ‘literate zones’.

According to a local Yam Shrestha, the number of illiterates can be counted in the then Naubasta Village Development Committee.  Likewise, in Narainapur Rural municipality adjoining to the sub-metropolis, around 12,000 people are illiterate.

These examples may be enough to claim that progress of the literacy campaign is limited only

to paper.

According to government statistics, 50,469 women and 34,615 men are still unable to read and write in the district that is home to 504,548 people. It means that illiterates are counted not in hundred, but in thousands.

The case of Narainapur provides ground to calculate the situation in other areas, mainly rural municipalities, but the then District Education Office have no official data. The then Banke’s assistant district education officer Gorkha Bahadur Thapa said they lacked authentic data about the status of illiteracy in the district. As he said, a survey is going on in the rural municipalities to find the facts.  They are now unable to give the exact figures.

The National Planning Commission report shows 56 per cent literacy rate in the district, it means that 44 per cent of the district’s population depends on fingerprint for official and legal affairs.