NEW DELHI: Taking forward its mission of making higher education socially relevant and meaningful for community development, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has asked all higher educational institutes to make it mandatory for students to teach at least five or more non-literates in an academic year.
The UGC has also suggested measures to implement the New India Literacy Programme (NILP) of the Ministry of Education. It was in February last year that the Government had approved NILP as a new scheme for the period 2022-27 to cover all the aspects of adult education to align with National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 and Budget Announcements 2021-22.
The NEP 2020 recommendations include strong and innovative Government initiatives for adult education to expedite the aim of achieving 100 per cent literacy. As per the National Survey of India 2022, total literacy rate in the country is 77.7 per cent only. According to Unesco data of 2015, adult literacy rate in India is 81 per cent, which is below the world average of 86.3 per cent.
Youth literacy rate (between 15 and 24 years) is 91.6 per cent in India. In China it is 99.7 per cent; in Sri Lanka, 98.8 per cent and Myanmar has 96.3 per cent youth literacy rate. Last month, Minister of State for Education Annpurna Devi, in a written reply in the Lok Sabha, had informed that the Government has allocated a total financial outlay of Rs 1037.90crore for NILP.
Community volunteers Qualified community members, including from higher education institutions, have been asked to engage with their local communities and to take short training courses and volunteer, as adult literacy instructors. To accelerate the objectives of adult education, the UGC has suggested measures to be taken by universities. Recently, it also urged institutions to start implementing a two-credit course on community engagement and social responsibility.
Call to students
Students have been informed that they can take on to teach three-four non-literates of 15 years and above per year voluntarily and appropriate credits in the credit framework for this activity will be considered.
All universities with department of adult education, continuing education and lifelong learning extension have been told to include mandatory teaching of at least five or above nonliterates by students in every academic year in their course work as a project or assignment for compilation of their degree.
Autonomy has been given to institutions to include certain credits for the voluntary activity of students. The credit may be given after the learner under them gets ‘literate’ certificate. The Institutions have been urged to train students to carry out the activities as per the guidelines of New India Literacy Programme.
What is NILP
The objectives of NILP is to impart not only foundational literacy and numeracy but also to cover other components which are necessary for a citizen of 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); and 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). The scheme envisages convergence with ministries and departments for effective implementation.