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Nagaland aims to eradicate illiteracy by 2030

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By Thejoto Nienu Updated: Sep 08, 2021 1:24 am
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A young boy holding a newspaper. (EM Images)

Our Correspondent
Kohima, Sep. 7 (EMN):
The department of School Education aims to improve the literacy rate of the state from nursery to all age groups with special focus on inclusive education especially towards children of special needs.

The Director of School Education, Wonthungo Tsopoe, said this on the eve of International Literacy Day, which is observed every year on September 8.

Tsopoe told Eastern Mirror that the department had recently taken up a literacy programme for adults under the theme Pradhna Likhna Abiyan in order to eradicate illiteracy in the rural areas, targeting three districts viz. Tuengsang, Kiphiri and Mokokchung.

“The response has been very impressive,” he said.

‘Through different mass media such as radio and television, there is a need to sensitise especially to remind the general public on the importance of literacy as it carries the dignity and human rights,’ stated the director.

“In order to eradicate illiteracy, the department shall continue to educate the people so as to improve the living standard of one and all,” he added.

State’s roadmap towards 100% literacy

Nagaland state’s literacy rate, according to 2011 Census, is 79.55 percent which is above the National Literacy rate of 67 percent, while the state’s enrollment at the primary level is 1, 87, 341 students; upper primary level- 1,00,115 students; elementary level- 2,87,456 students; secondary level- 55, 946 students and higher secondary level- 32,899 students, according to Unified District Information System for Education (UDISE+ 2018-2019).

However, as per the All India Survey of Higher Education 2017-18, the gross enrollment ratio in the state is 17.8%, the lowest in the Northeast region and far lower than the national ratio of 25.8%. In technical education, the number of students studying in engineering and technology, management programmes, and applied arts and crafts (diploma and degree within the state) is 2.47 percent (gross enrollment ratio) in FY 2018/2019.

The state government, in its Vision 2030, stated that ‘focus for tomorrow’ is quality education linked with enhancing learning outcomes; teacher training; improving infrastructure and promoting entrepreneurship and increasing employability.

It had set a target to achieve 100 percent literacy rate; 100 percent enrollment in primary education; zero percent or near zero percent drop-out rate at school level; 100 percent or near 100 percent pass for primary education; 100 percent enrollment rate of children with special needs; accreditation of every school and higher education institution in the state with a minimum score of 2.5 Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) and upgrading of existing Polytechnic to Degree Colleges after obtaining accreditation through National Board of Accreditation (NBA).

Current Intervention

The Government of Nagaland also stated in its Vision 2030 that it “has utmost priority to education by way of establishing schools in all the villages and urban habitations”.

It maintained that the state had incurred an expenditure of INR 1232.94 crore for School Education during the FY 2018/2019 (B.E), accruing for 8.95% of the total demand for grant.

“This is one of the highest allocations for any department. However, there is a need for efficiency in increased expenditures for appropriate outcomes which may be seen in social indicators,” it stated.

The state is giving focus right on anganwadi and school education — early childcare, pre-primary and primary education — as it is critical for a child’s development. It stated that the government of Nagaland had realised that with less than a quarter of children in the state enrolling in anganwadis, there was a dire need to address pre-primary education needs through new schemes and programmes focussed on it.

At present, the state is implementing various programmes like Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA); Mid Day Meal (MDM) scheme; pre-matric scholarships and stipend both centrally-sponsored and state-sponsored; rationalisation of schools and Saakshar Bharat.

Challenges

The state vision document also highlighted various challenges such as teacher-related problems; absenteeism; engagement of proxy teachers and long leaves; lack of participation by other stakeholders such as society and parents particularly in rural areas; lack of school-related supplies, causing delay in delivery of textbooks and study materials; and curriculum-related challenges in the form of lack of uniformity in syllabus among the government and private schools.

Meanwhile, it also pointed that in the light of the New Education Policy 2020 that emphasises on anganwadis to be brought under the School Education department, it was going to be a challenge for the state as most of the anganwadi teachers don’t have requisite qualifications.

It also highlighted poor infrastructure, lack of quality research work coupled with policy-related issues, and need for entrepreneurship and employability with a dire need for skill development.

Strategies for success

Meanwhile, the government stressed on its aim to build a state where students enjoy learning and teachers enjoy teaching; that would create an education system that is more accessible, inclusive and responsive to the needs of diverse groups of children and young people.

It went on to highlight strategies such as to strengthen anganwadis and early childhood education; improve infrastructure; strengthen higher and technical education institutions with various programmes and approaches.

Moreover, in order to combat dropouts, the government envisaged to create youth clubs and student unions by collaborating with local NGOs, organise job fairs and diversify courses.

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By Thejoto Nienu Updated: Sep 08, 2021 1:24:53 am