The annual literacy campaign kicked off the other day in Nepal with the objective of making more than one million people literate. The government has initiated this annual nine-month campaign to be implemented in three different phases as a part of education for all, which is expected to eliminate illiteracy in Nepal within a few years as per its commitment made both at home and abroad. The United Nations has already adopted the resolution to eradicate illiteracy as one of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, to which Nepal is a signatory.
According to estimates, there are approximately 862 million non-literate people in the world. Nearly two-thirds of whom are women. Although the literacy rate in Nepal has jumped in recent years, it is still far from satisfactory as millions of people still cannot read and write. But investment in education is a must for the overall development of the country. It is hard to imagine the development of the country without literate people.
Nepal has accorded high priority to education. The ‘ Education to All’ programme has definitely yielded positive results as more people are becoming literate. For this, different donors have also extended their meaningful support. Various schemes have been introduced to attract more children into school. As a result, enrollment of children in school has been encouraging. But this has not been sustainable as children slowly drop out. Statistics have shown that almost half of the children enrolled in grade one drop out before they complete grade five. This trend has to be reversed, and retention of students until they at least become literate should be ensured.
The other issue is related to skills. Literacy should be a combination of the ability to read and write and other life skills. If children are taught other skills along with reading and writing, it would develop their interest and retain them in the classroom. The other issue is the language barrier. Nepal is a country of different lingual communities, and it would not be wise to impart education in one particular language. The government has introduced the policy of teaching in the mother tongue. This policy has paid off as schools have already started teaching in different mother tongues, which should help not only in retaining students in school but also helping children learn to read and write more quickly and easily.
(Source: The Rising Nepal)