Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar on Friday said the government will undertake a programme from next year to enrol “70-80 lakh” students in the country who are out of schools.
“There are about 70-80 lakh children who are not going to schools. We have thought of a plan to address the problem… it will be known as ‘school chalo abhiyan’,” Javadekar said while addressing a seminar here on International Literacy Day.
“Many states have started it already. From next year onwards we will launch it in the entire country with more planning.”
He said that a lot of progress has happened in the country since 1947 in that “we have achieved 81 per cent literacy” which was 18 per cent at the time of Independence.
Stressing that literacy, as we know it, is not enough, he emphasised on getting digital literacy to the masses.
“This is not only the time for literacy in terms of reading and writing, but of digital literacy as well. And people have moved in that direction already. Rural India alone has 70 crore mobile phones,” said the Minister.
“When all these challenges are met, we will be able to fulfil Prime Minister’s dream of 100 per cent literacy, digital and otherwise, by 2022, ” he added.
Minister of State (HRD) Satya Pal Singh, who also addressed the event, advised people to read a bit of India’s history, which he said, led the world in education during as recent as 19th century.
“The problem is that we do not read… Thomas Monroe (a British administrator) had written an account in the year 1810, in which he mentioned that India had 100 per cent literacy…,” he said.
“We have a lot to do now. I am new to the Ministry but we will plan on what can be done to bring complete literacy.”