Literacy Soars from 20% to Nearly 80% in 76 Years of Independence: Dharmendra Pradhan
Union Minister of Education and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Dharmendra Pradhan, inaugurated the two-day ULLAS Mela today at the National Bal Bhavan, New Delhi. Union Minister of State for Education Smt. Annpurna Devi was also present as the Special Guest. Secretary, Department of School Education & Literacy (DoSEL), Shri Sanjay Kumar; Secretary, Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Shri Atul Kumar Tiwari; Joint Secretary, DoSEL, Smt. Archana Sharma Awasthi; Director, NCERT, Prof. Dinesh Prasad Saklani; In-charge, Cell for National Centre for Literacy (CNCL), Smt. Usha Sharma; and other dignitaries were also present at the event. The dignitaries also visited the exhibition stalls of CNCL, NCERT and all the States/UTs showcasing the resource materials developed by them.
While speaking at the event Shri Pradhan said that hundred per cent literacy is the most important pillar of Viksit Bharat. He also said that ULLAS is spreading new colours in the lives of those who could avail education and making them proficient in subjects related to common needs along with Fundamental literacy and numeracy.
He urged everyone to participate in the programme to convert it into a mass movement. Students should also participate in this campaign, and under the new credit architecture, the student will earn credit points by helping others to become literate, he added.
If the mass movement is to be successful then the method of teaching and learning will have to be made simple and enjoyable, Shri Pradhan emphasized. Honest efforts should be made to design the method of teaching depending on the learners’ preference and need, he said. Shri Pradhan also said that the goal of complete literacy can be achieved only through a knowledge distribution system based on sports, folk language and things related to daily work.
He commended the efforts of the States who have adopted a model that is play-based making learning simple and enjoyable. These make the models more acceptable among the learners, he added. He also suggested organising a 7-day workshop of the experts in developing resource material such as handbooks, digital capsules, etc. and connecting it with skilling.
While speaking at the event, Smt. Annpurna Devi congratulated the neo-literates and volunteers for their efforts. She expressed her gratitude to Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi for envisioning NEP2020 and making budget provisions for adult literacy programmes. Beyond literacy, the programme is equipping neo-literates with 21st-century skills such as online transactions, filling out forms, signatures, etc. she added. She commended the efforts of the States and UTs for exhibiting their resource materials that will inspire other states. She encouraged everyone to come forward to participate in the literacy mission and fulfil the Prime Minister’s resolution of Viksit Bharat.
Shri Sanjay Kumar in his address stated that the National Education Policy 2020 serves as an inspiration for all stakeholders, emphasizing Foundational Literacy and Numeracy for every child. He highlighted the significance of the spirit of volunteerism in ULLAS. He stated that more than 40 lakh neo-literates have participated in the examination organised by NIOS. Additionally, he highlighted that ULLAS not only focuses on digital and financial literacy but also provides important life-saving skills. He appealed to all to identify people who missed the opportunity of literacy and enable them to become literate and support literacy initiatives aimed at reaching absolute literacy for all.
ULLAS achievers, volunteers and winners of the Poster-making Competition were felicitated during the event. ULLAS Concise Primer & Margdarshika (NCERT); ULLAS Primers/Margdarshika (States &UTs); Jingle on ULLAS (NCERT); ULLAS: Documentary Film (MoE); and Mobile Hai Sahi – Short Animated Film on Critical Life Skills (NCERT) were also digitally released by the Minister.
To achieve the target of 100% literacy by 2030, the Government of India is implementing a centrally sponsored innovative scheme called Nav Bharat Saksharta Karyakram or New India Literacy Program for the period of FYs 2022-2027. The scheme is popularly known as ULLAS: Understanding of Lifelong Learning for All in Society, upholding the motto “Jan-Jan Sakshar”. The scheme is targeted at all non-literates of age 15 years and above. The scheme, in line with NEP 2020, targets adults (aged 15 and above) who could not go to school or attain formal education. It focuses on imparting Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN), through critical life skills, such as Digital Literacy, Financial Literacy, Legal Literacy, Environmental Literacy, Health & Hygiene, etc. Implemented in a hybrid mode, States/UTs have flexibility in offline, online, or combined approaches.
The scheme consists of five components: (i) Foundational Literacy and Numeracy; (ii) Critical Life Skills; (iii) Basic Education; (iv) Vocational Skills; and (v) Continuing Education. ULLAS is to be implemented through VOLUNTEERISM, encouraging citizen participation, emphasizing DUTY or Kartavya Bodh towards nation-building. The scheme contributes to India’s growth, by making India जन जन साक्षर. The ULLAS App has been developed to register learners, volunteers and also containing teaching learning material for them. The learners are certified as literate by way of twice-a-year assessments in September & March.
There have been substantial activities carried out under ULLAS in most of the States/UTs. Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Education is organising ULLAS Mela on 6th-7th February, 2024 in collaboration with CNCL, NCERT to showcase various National and State level activities under ULLAS- Nav Bharat Saksharta Karyakram. The event will comprise various activities including felicitation of Neo-literates from the States/UTs who have successfully certified in the Foundational Literacy Numeracy Assessment Test (FLNAT), the launch of the ULLAS Concise Primers of the states/UTs in local languages, sessions on ‘Best Practices’, panel discussion, Prize distribution to the winners of poster-making competition held during the International Literacy Week. Seven hundred participants from various States/UTs along with more than 100 dignitaries from the Ministry of Education, States/UTs and various organizations will be participating in the event.