Karnali targeting total literacy status in the current fiscal year
Preparations have begun to achieve total literacy status for Karnali Province. Federal, provincial, and local governments all are implementing various programs to attain this status in the current fiscal year.
Out of the 79 local units in the province, 27 are yet to be declared total literate. Balbir Sunar, chief of the Education Development Division under the Ministry of Social Development, Karnali Province, expressed confidence that all remaining local units will be declared total literate in the current fiscal year. Plans are in motion to declare both these local units and the entire province total literate in the current fiscal year, he added.
As per the 2021 census, the population of Karnali stands at 1,694,889. However, only 76% of the total population is literate. Notably, eight local units in Kalikot, one in Humla, four in Mugu, eight in Jumla, and six in Dolpa have yet to achieve total literacy status..
Literacy levels are assessed using 12 indicators, such as familiarity with alphabets and numbers, ability to write one's name, reading calendars, performing basic mathematics (addition and subtraction), and articulating opinions at public events. Individuals meeting at least six of these 12 indicators are considered literate.
Local units are declared literate when 95 percent of the people in the 15-59 age group within that unit meet these six indicators. Among the seven provinces in the country, Karnali and Madhesh haven’t achieved total literacy status yet. Once these two provinces attain total literacy status, the federal government plans to declare the entire country fully literate.
The provincial government is implementing various programs to align with the federal government's objectives and achieve full literacy status, according to Minister for Social Development Khadga Bahadur Pokharel.
Likewise, Chief Minister Raj Kumar Sharma has said that the provincial government will spare no effort to attain total literacy status in the current fiscal year. According to Sharma, the provincial government plans to deploy teachers to households with illiterate individuals for several hours or days to promote literacy.
Local unit representatives have likewise pledged to make their respective units fully literate. Dan Bahadur Budha, chairperson of Ghutichaur Rural Municipality in Jumla, said that various programs are being implemented to achieve total literacy in the current fiscal year.
In Karnali Province, there are 399 schools offering classes up to Grade 10, which constitutes 5.8 percent of the total number of schools in the country providing education up to Grade 10. Similarly, 7.55 percent of 4,410 schools nationwide offering classes up to Grade 12 are in Karnali Province.
It is paradoxical that despite the presence of numerous development organizations in Karnali and Madhes provinces, most of the country's illiterate population resides in these regions.
Chudamani Paudel, director general of the Center for Education and Human Resource Development, said that the constitution guarantees free and compulsory basic education for all Nepali citizens. Paudel pointed out that the delay in enacting the Federal Education Act has caused various issues in the education system. “There is a need to create 60,000 teaching positions for different levels up to Grade 12. However, we haven’t received approval from the finance ministry. We are somehow making do with 40,000 temporary positions,” he added.
Dr Bhojraj Kafle, secretary of the Ministry of Social Development, Karnali Province, said the same individuals were participating in adult literacy programs as much as seven times. This lays bare the managerial shortcomings in these programs,” he added.
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