Ambitious literacy plan in dire need of budget


An ambitious plan of the government to achieve total literacy by 2015—’Literate Nepal Mission’—is likely to receive a crushing blow owing to lack of a full budget.

The three-year plan is scheduled to kick off on January 14 next year targeting to make 1,380,000 people literate annually. However, lack of adequate funds for the mission has forced the Ministry of Education (MoE) to seek financial resources from other ministries. The Non Formal Education Centre (NFEC) under the MoE, which had demanded Rs 1.38 billion for the current fiscal year to meet the target, has to limit its expenditure to just Rs 530 million in the lack of full fledged budget.

“The available budget is just one third of the required. However, we are committed to make it successful,” said NFEC Director Baburam Poudel. He informed that a central level inter-ministerial coordination committee, comprising representatives of nine different ministries, has been formed under the leadership

to of National Planning Commission Member Shiva Kumar Rai to generate resources. “We can change the target for this year, but all the illiterate will be able to read and write as per the target in next three years.”

A survey by the NFEC last year shows that 4,054,649 people above 15 years of age are illiterate at present. Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai is all set to make an appeal to all citizens to help make the mission successful.

According to Poudel, separate units have been set up in all the District Education Offices to forge coordination among different local bodies to execute the mission. The NFEC has been developing a new curriculum for the campaign, as the government has revised the criteria for someone to be called a literate. A person will be deemed literate if s/he has the basic knowledge of operating a mobile phone and a calculator, can count up to 100, can express personal views in public and fill up bank vouchers and cheques. “We are preparing to use the new technology like mobile phones to make people literate,” he said.

The multi-billion-rupee project aims to set up around 36,000 centres that will conduct obilise 207,000 volunteers and 20,700 monitors across the country.


Posted on: 2012-12-27 08:23