• India
  • Feb 17

Explainer / New India Literacy Programme

The ministry of education approved a new scheme — New India Literacy Programme — for the next five years to cover all the aspects of adult education to align with the new National Education Policy (NEP).

Adult education is now ‘Education for All’ 

• It has been decided that from now onwards that the term “Education For All” will be used in place of “adult education” by the ministry in view of the fact that the terminology “adult education” is not appropriately incorporating all non-literates of 15 years and above age group.

• As per Census 2011, the absolute number of non-literates of the country in 15 years and above age group is 25.76 crore (male 9.08 crore, female 16.68 crore). 

• In consideration of the progress of persons certified as literates being to the tune of 7.64 crore under the Saakshar Bharat programme implemented during 2009-10 to 2017-18, it is estimated that currently around 18.12 crore adults are still non-literate in India.

• The National Education Policy 2020 has recommendations for adult education and lifelong learning.

• The scheme will cover non-literates of the age of 15 years and above in all states and Union Territories. 

• The target for Foundational Literacy and Numeracy for financial years 2022-27 is five crore learners using Online Teaching, Learning and Assessment System (OTLAS) in collaboration with National Informatics Centre, NCERT and NIOS in which a learner may register him/herself with essential information like name, date of birth, gender, Aadhaar number and mobile number.

• The estimated total outlay of the scheme is Rs 1,037.90 crore which includes central share of Rs 700 crore and state share of Rs 337.90 crore respectively for 2022-27.

• The scheme will be implemented through volunteerism through online mode. The training, orientation, workshops of volunteers, may be organised through face-to-face mode.

• All material and resources shall be provided digitally for easy access to registered volunteers through easily accessible digital modes like TV, radio, cell phone-based free, open-source apps and portals.

Objectives of the scheme:

• To impart not only foundational literacy and numeracy but also to cover other components which are necessary for a citizen of the 21st century such as  critical life skills (including financial literacy, digital literacy, commercial skills, health care and awareness, child care and education, and family welfare).

• Vocational skills development (with a view towards obtaining local employment).

• Basic education (including preparatory, middle, and secondary stage equivalency).

• Continuing education, including engaging holistic adult education courses in arts, sciences, technology, culture, sports, and recreation, as well as other topics of interest or use to local learners, such as more advanced material on critical life skills.

Other key points:

• School will be a unit for implementation of the scheme.

• Schools to be used for conducting surveys of beneficiaries and voluntary teachers.

• Different strategies are to be adopted for different age cohorts. Flexibility for states/UTs will be provided to undertake innovative activities.

• Foundational Literacy and Numeracy will be imparted through Critical Life Skills to all non-literates in the age group of 15 years and above.

• Use of technologies to impart adult education for wider coverage of the scheme.

• Performance Grading Index (PGI) for state/UT and district level will show the performance of states and UTs to implement the scheme and achievements on yearly basis by weighing both the physical and financial progress through Unified District Information on School Education (UDISE) portal.

• CSR/philanthropic support may be received by hosting ICT support, providing volunteer support, opening facilitation centres for learners and for providing IT access to economically weak learners in the form of cellphones, etc.

Priority and saturation in literacy: The age cohort of 15-35 will be saturated first followed by ages 35 and above. Priority will be given in terms of categories to the girls and women, SC/ST/OBC/minorities, persons with special needs, marginalised/nomadic/construction workers/ labourers who can substantially and immediately benefit from adult education. 

Location/areas: The focus shall be on all aspirational districts of NITI Aayog, districts with literacy rates less than the national/state average, districts with female literacy rates less than 60 per cent as per the 2011 Census, districts/ blocks with large SC/ST/ minority population, educationally backward blocks, Left Wing Extremism affected districts.

• Three crore students/children from around 7 lakh schools registered under UDISE along with about 50 lakh teachers of government, aided and private schools will participate as volunteers.

• An estimated 20 lakh students from teacher education and higher education institutions will be actively involved as volunteers. 

• Support will be garnered from Panchayat Raj Institutions (PRIs), anganwadi workers, ASHA workers and an estimated 50 lakh Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS), NSS and NCC volunteers.

• There will be involvement of community, participation of philanthropic/CSR organisations through volunteerism and through Vidyanjali portal. 

• States/UTs will promote individual/ family/village/ district success stories through various platforms.

• It will utilise all types of media, including social media platforms.

• Assessment of literacy will be conducted using scientific format to capture the real-life learnings and skills for functional literacy. Assessment on demand will also be made through OTLAS and e-certificate jointly e-signed by National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) and National Literacy Mission Authority (NLMA) will be issued to the learner.

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