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Essay, Paragraph, Speech on “Illiteracy – A Bane” Complete Paragraph, Speech for Classes 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12.

Illiteracy – A Bane

“India has the highest number of illiterates in the world, a mind-boggling 290 million adult illiterates- A matter of utter shame. Mahatma Gandhi visualized education a basic tools for the development of consciousness and reconstruction of society. Great reformers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy and Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar thought that emancipation of Indians was only possible through education.”

After 51 years of independence, we are still too far way from the universal literacy. What is the reason? Why have we come to such a sorry state ? Reason can be will enumerated; improper planning, poor implementation of policies, lack of infrastructure and lack of political will are the main causes responsible for such state of affairs.

If seen satistically, literacy in India has made remarkable strides since independence as seen by recently declared provisional result of the census 2001, The literacy rate has increased from 18.33% in 1951 to 65.38% in 2001. This is despite the fact that during the major part of the last five decades there has been exponential growth of the population nearly 2% per annum. Some of the important highlights of census 2001 are given below :

The literacy rate in the country has increased to 65.38% which reflects an overall increase of 13.17%, the fastest ever growth. This is the highest rate since independence.

The literacy rate has increased to 75.85% which shows an increase of 11.72%. On the other hand, the female literacy of 54.16% has increased at a much faster rate of 14.87%

The male-female literacy gap has reduced from 24.84% in 1991 to 21.70% in 2001. Mizoram has the smallest gap (4.56%) followed by Kerala (7.45%) and Meghalaya (8.27%)

All states and Union Territories without exception have indicated increase in literacy rates during 1991-2001. In all the states and Union Territories the male literacy has gone now over 60%. For the first time since independence there has been a decline in the absolute number of illiterates. In the previous years there has been continuous increase in the number of illiterates, despite the increase in the literacy rates, but now for the first time the total number of illiterates has come down by 31.96 millions.

The number of literate persons has increased to 562.01 millions in 2001 thus adding an additional 203.61 million literates in the country.

Under the Vajpayee Government, the department of Elementary Education and Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development has launched the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) a national mission to provide quality education for eight years to all children in the age group of 6-14 years. All the district in the country are to be covered by the programme. By 2010, all the children will have completed eight years of quality elementary education under the programme. The National Literacy Mission (NLM) launched in 1998. The goal of the Nation Literacy Mission is to attain full literacy i.e. a sustainable threshold level of 75% by 2005. The mission seeks to achieve this goal by imparting functional literacy to non-literates in the 15-35 age group. This age group has been the focus of attention because they are in the productive and reproductive period of life. The total literacy campaign offers them a second chance, in case they missed the opportunity to mainstream formal education.

The mission also takes into its children in the 9-14 age group, in . areas not covered by non-formal education programmes to reach the benefits of literacy to out-of-school children as well. The major thrust of these programmes is on the promotion of literacy among women, scheduled castes and tribes and backwards classes.

The National Literacy Mission eventually aims at ensuring that the total literacy campaigns and their sequel, the post-literacy campaigns, successfully move on to continuing education which provides life long learning and is responsible for the creation of a learning society.

Pradeep’s Advanced Essays Book Mission attempted to consolidate the earlier centre-based programme to make its implementation more effective through the campaign-based approach.

The real breakthrough came with an experiment in mass literacy, a campaign initiated in 1989 and successfully complete in F.rnakulam District of Kerala. The basic idea is to see that the neo-literate are not slipped back into illiteracy. There are numerous good schemes but the problem lies in their proper implementation. Lack of motivation among school teachers, poor infrastructure facilities, corruption, are the basic reasons. Why the result could not come as desired. There is little healthy contact between the teacher and the taught, parents are unwilling to send their daughters to schools. The drop out rate still remains high. Some states, like Tamil Nadu, launched the scheme of mid-day meal to reduce the drop-out percentage. The infrastructure provided in the schools are not adequate. Many school are being run in open or in buildings without roof or plaster. It is absolutely necessary that the problem of illiteracy is to be tackled on war level by making awareness to the general masses about the importance of being literate. A powerful mass movement involving the Central and State Government, Municipalities, Panchayats, NGOs, the media and every other supportive institutions is required to be launched. Education is the most significant instruments of National Development.

Literacy is a base of nation’s overall progress and development. We must remember that ignorance leads to greater expectation and lack of empowerment leads to perpetuation of poverty and hunger. India is known for best skilled man power in the world, and also for largest number of illiterates in the world. The bane of illiteracy is to be root out at the earliest at all levels with all out positive attempts with strong political determination and will. Eradication of illiteracy should be given due priority. Delay can be disastrous.


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