- Elaborately discuss the key policy proposals made in the NEP 2020.
- Since adult literacy is important for universalism, make a separate mention about NEP’s proposal on adult literacy.
The National Literacy Mission launched in 1988, now known as the Saakshar Bharat Programme (SBP) and run by the National Literacy Mission Authority, has made creditable progress. The average literacy rate since independence has grown from a pitifully small 18.33% (1951) to 74.04% as per the 2011 Census. Despite this, India still remains the country with the largest number of illiterates, with the Census 2011 putting the count to be approximately 287 million.
The NEP 2020 makes ‘equitable and inclusive access to quality education for all’ the central theme, and the attainment of universal literacy an aspirational goal.
- One of the key recommendations of NEP 2020 is to create school complexes, spaces that are well-resourced and can be shared by several schools, and then make these same spaces and resources available to youth and adults after school hours.
- The policy document states that all communities and educational institutions will be strengthened and modernized to ensure an adequate supply of books that cater to the needs and interests of all students, including persons with disabilities and other differently-abled persons.
- Other steps mentioned in NEP 2020 include strengthening all existing libraries, setting up rural libraries, and reading rooms in disadvantaged regions, making reading material in Indian languages attractive looking and widely available, across India across subjects, and fostering greater collaborations between education institutions and libraries.
- All shared spaces—schools, school complexes, public libraries, special purpose Adult Education Centres (AECs) etc. will be ICT-equipped and will be used for community engagement and enrichment activities.
- Technology-based options for adult learning such as apps, online courses/modules, satellite-based TV channels, online books, and ICT-equipped libraries and AECs, will be developed. These enhancements will also enable quality adult education.
- Adult literacy: As stated in NEP 2020, extensive field studies and analyses, both in India and across the world, clearly demonstrate that volunteerism and community involvement and mobilisation are key success factors of adult literacy programmes, along with organisational structure, proper planning, adequate financial support, and high-quality capacity building of educators and volunteers.
- They will then connect these aspirants with local Adult Education Centres (AECs). Opportunities for adult education will also be widely publicised, through advertisements and announcements and events and initiatives of NGOs and other local organisations.
- The document states that the curriculum framework for adult education will include at least five types of programmes, each with clearly defined outcomes: (a) foundational literacy and numeracy; (b) critical life skills; (c) vocational skills development; (d) basic education; and (e) continuing education.
- It recommends that the adult education curriculum framework be prepared to keep in mind the fact that adults will require different teaching-learning methods and materials than those designed for children as will instructors/ educators who will be specially trained for the purpose.
- The instructors/ educators will be recruited and trained by the national, state, and district-level resource support institutions to organise and lead learning activities at specially created Adult Education Centres (AECs), as well as coordinate with volunteer instructors.
The stage has been set by NEP 2020 for closing the gap toward universal literacy. It remains to be seen if the implementation can leverage its provisions to deliver on the promise.