“Learning gives creativity, Creativity leads to thinking, Thinking provides knowledge, and Knowledge makes you great.” A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
Education is the best tool for social development. Education is important not only for development of one's personality, but also for the sustained growth of any society. It is the foundation on which the development of every citizen and nation depends. Government of India has launched many programmes to promote the basic education and eradicate illiteracy.
India is the seventh largest country in world in term of area and second largest in terms of population but in India most of the people are not able to read and write. A person aged seven and above, who can both read and write with understanding of any language, is treated as literate. As per 2011 Census, the overall literacy rate of India is 74.04%. The difference between the highest and the lowest literacy rate in India is very high. Kerala has the highest literacy rate which is 93.91 %, while Bihar has the lowest with 63.82 %.
Government of India is taking many steps day by day to overcome this critical situation. The government of India had started National Literacy Mission (NLM) program in 1988. It aims to reduce illiteracy by educating 80 million adults in the age group of 15 - 35 over an eighty-year period. Even in this era, Mid day Meal Scheme had been started by Government in 1995 for Nutrition to students in primary schools to improve enrollment, retention and attendance.
The Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan was also launched in 2001 to ensure that all children in the 6–14 year age-group attended school and completed eight years of schooling by 2010. An important feature of the scheme is the Education Guarantee Scheme and Alternative and Innovative Education, meant primarily for children in areas with no formal school within a one kilometer radius. Sakchhar Bharat is the centrally sponsored nation-wide literacy scheme of the Indian Department for School Education and Literacy (DSEL) focusing on increasing women´s literacy in India. It was launched by the Prime Minister on International Literacy Day in September 2009. Its objective is to significantly decrease the number of non-literate adults in India and foster an environment within communities that encourages lifelong learning.
Illiteracy can bring down even the most powerful country, so if we are to become a developed nation, the Government should first eliminate the problem of illiteracy by introducing effective programs with proper implementation. Even today our leaders give a low priority to literacy issue. They fail to find out, that the literacy is a part of the development process. Literacy improves the quality of life, it is a process of building understanding among the weak sections of peoples and it acts to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor.
Not only the government, but every literate citizen should contribute in battling with the devil of illiteracy. Every literate person should target to teach at least one illiterate person so that we may call ourselves as a developed citizen and India becomes a developed nation.
R J Yadav
Assistant Professor (ME)
JEMTEC, Greater Noida