The state with a high literacy index and low school drop out rate, Kerala, is all set to launch a programme titled ‘Aksharalaksham’, on January 26 with the objective of achieving 100 per cent literacy. Each and every person in all strata of society will be covered under this new drive, said official sources. The programme will be launched by the state-run Kerala State Literacy Mission and will help eradicate illiteracy among marginalised groups like tribals, fisher folks and slum-dwellers, a top official said. The reason behind this decision was that although the state possesses good literacy rate, still 18 lakh people were illiterate, revealed the 2011 Census.
A ward-level survey has already been conducted and those identified as illiterates would be started with study classes on the Republic Day, said Literacy Mission director P S Sreekala. “Our motto is to eradicate illiteracy completely and achieve 100 per cent literacy in the state by all means”, she told PTI. There are some technical differences between the complete eradication of illiteracy and achieving total literacy, she added. A total of 100 hours of instruction is planned and examinations will be held for them in April.
“As per the UNESCO norms, 90 per cent of the population should be literate to declare a state as complete literate. That’s how Kerala was declared so in 1990s. But, the present figures show that there are still a large number of illiterates in the state,” she said.
The Aksharalaksham initiative will be implemented in 2,086 wards out of the total 20,000 wards across the state in the initial phase, Sreekala said. Details of illiterates, those of school dropouts in these wards had also been collected. “We hope that we can declare these wards as complete literate by April 18 this year. In the next phase, rest of the wards will be brought under the initiative.”