SAAKSHAR BHARAT MISSION (SBM)
Context: Over 41,000 women in Telangana’s Sangareddy district have cleared the examination conducted by the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS).
The NIOS exam is normally taken by 4,000 to 5,000 neo-literates from each district annually, but that number exceeded the norm ten times, because of the Sangareddy programme for female literacy initiated by the then District Collector, Manicka Raj Kannan, in 2017.
HOW THIS HAPPENED
- In 2017, the district administration developed ‘Ammaku Akshara Mala’ (alphabet garland for mother) and roped in students in Classes VII to X.
- They wereasked to teach their mothers to read and write the Telugu alphabet at home.
- Most women were part of Self-Help Groups but not literate.
- The administration identified 52,000 women as eligible to take the exam and sent the list to the Central government.
- The women got books developed by the district administration which also drafted volunteers from the Indira Kranthi Patham, a rural poverty alleviation scheme, to give worksheets to the SHG members
The Telangana experiment exhibits an excellent example that can be replicated in other parts of the country.
SAAKSHAR BHARAT MISSION
- The programme was formulated in 2009 with the objective of achieving 80% literacy level at national level, by focusing on adult women literacy seeking – to reduce the gap between male and female literacy to not more than 10 percentage points
It has four broader objectives,
- Imparting functional literacy and numeracy to non-literates.
- Acquiring equivalency to formal educational system.
- Imparting relevant skill development programme
- Promote a leaning society by providing opportunities for continuing education.
- The principal target of the programme is to impart functional literacy to 70 million non-literate adults in the age group of 15 years and beyond.
- This Includes coverage of 14 million Scheduled Castes (SCs), 8 million Scheduled Tribes (STs), 12 million minorities & 36 million others.
- The overall coverage of women is aimed at 60 million. 410 districts belonging to 27 States/UTs of the country were identified to be covered under Saakshar Bharat.
- Saakshar Bharat Programme goes beyond ‘3’ R’s (i.e. Reading, Writing & Arithmetic)
- For it also seeks to create awareness of social disparities and a person’s deprivation on the means for its amelioration and general well being.