Making India Literate, Fully and Functionally

Pradeep Mallik
2016 Zenodo  
Introduction Amid a pat for marching towards the measurable "Education for All" goals, the chastisement that India has the world's largest illiterate population and that the poverty-stricken women in India will take 65 years to attain literacy should make all those who have stake in India's development sit up and pull up their socks. A major thrust has been made in each decade since Independence to spread literacy in India. Major initiatives include Social Education (1952), Farmers' Training
more » ... Functional Literacy Programme (1967–68), and National Adult Education Programme (1977–78). Then in 1988, the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi inaugurated the ambitious National Literacy Mission (NLM) that envisaged making 30 million Indians literate by 1990 and 50 millions more literate by 1995. Using unprecedented techno-pedagogic inputs, NLM initiatives began across the country. The initiatives, especially NLM, bore results but they were less than satisfactory. An example from Gujarat makes it clear. A review,1 commissioned by the Government of Gujarat and carried out by Sardar Patel Institute of Economic and Social Research declared 15 out of 21 districts fully literate. Remarkably this review was commissioned when a government-commissioned review2 by Gujarat Institute of Development Research earlier in the same year reported less than satisfactory progress in the state's Gandhinagar district. The ground reality was affirmed in 1999 when Action India, a non-government organisation floated by some well meaning influential non-resident Indians, identified literacy as an area to work in. Sam Pitroda, the technocrat credited with conceiving NLM, was the driving force behind Action India. By 2003, the Government of Gujarat which had claimed total literacy in 15 out of 21 districts, officially recognised the state's literacy scene as one of the poorest in the country and appointed a core group headed by a UNESCO consultant to look into the problem. The idea, obviously, was to make future literacy initiatives [...]
doi:10.5281/zenodo.3366918 fatcat:fv4jb6bhmrejfjza6pi7fc7g7i