Jaipur: The literacy rate in the state can match the national average in a decade provided an integrated state and civil society approach is introduced, experts say while reacting to the low rate of literacy, the strongest gender divide despite the solid foundations laid by the former princely states.
Unicef political planner KB Kothari said the gray areas in terms of low literacy are well defined in the state and there is a need for a tailor-made approach. “Free education coupled with rewards like scooters and cash benefits has paid off, but there is still a long way to go. The state must have region / area / community specific programs to promote literacy, especially for women, ”Kothari said.
He recalled writing a detailed letter to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in 2012 highlighting how rewards policies are failing to reach the state’s most vulnerable communities. “Women of childbearing age between 15 and 35 years old should be targeted with multi-pronged literacy programs that include elements of basic English and math as well as financial, legal and professional knowledge tailored to the needs of the current scenario. “Kothari said in his letter, which he still considers relevant.
Stressing the need to involve civil society, Mohammad Shahzad, head of state at the NGO Pratham, said that without creating a force of volunteers and community leaders, the literacy gap can never be reached. “The team of volunteers must restart the Shaksharta mission by going door-to-door and mobilizing community leaders with an appropriate focus on the societal and financial benefits of literacy and education,” said Shahzad, who believes that the state must reorient its programs out of the format set up such as schools to increase literacy rates.
Stressed that literacy programs at this time are incomplete by adding an element of digital literacy, Puneet Sharma, an education expert said: “The modules on how to use computers, internet and smartphones are very important for improving the ability to communicate in digital media. The national education policy clearly emphasizes digital literacy as one of the tools to reduce the gap between urban and rural areas, ”said Sharma.
“The Congressional government has made sincere efforts to improve the literacy rate of women as well as their rate in schools and colleges. Besides the awards, our government has decided to convert schools with 500 female students into colleges so that they stay on the same campus and compete in their education. We are committed to bringing male and female students on par with literacy rates, ”said Govind Singh Dotasra, State Minister of Education.