Education, a fundamental right of every citizen, is the first and foremost requirement for expediting all kinds of development in any society. In the absence of literate population, a society falls back to backwardness where social indicators remain at their lowest possible state. Many advanced nations in the world have made tremendous progress, thanks to their educated and well trained citizenry. Education helps a society adapt to technological advancement, which in turn brings development and prosperity.
Also, education helps free its citizens from conventional lifestyles and encourages them to accept modern ideas and values, thus bringing a new kind of energy and happiness in their lives. As an educated population plays a significant role in the advancement of a nation, a government always aspires to run different programmes intending to set up schools, colleges, universities and training centres in its endeavours to educate its population.
In Nepal, successive governments have been conducting various campaigns to educate its people. Special programmes such as attracting children to schools, scholarships and stipends to the poor, marginalised and girl students, day-time meals for students, sanitation in schools and some others are aimed at educating children at the grassroots level.
The government has also run many adult education programmes across the country to bring all those who have been left out from formal education. Since education and literacy have also been one of the main Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), our government has come up with various campaigns and programmes to make all its citizens literate to achieve the SDG and MDG goals by 2030.
According to government policies, any local level or district can be declared a fully literate area if it has a literacy rate of more than 95 per cent. While providing his valuable inputs on Nepal's goals to achieve full literacy target the other day in Pokhara, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba declared Gandaki a fully literate province, where 85 local levels and 11 districts have surpassed 95 per cent literacy.
On the occasion, the Prime Minister stated that the government is striving to make every Nepali citizen literate. According to him, the rise in literacy rate helps citizens to fight health related challenges like the spread of COVID-19. In the meantime, the country is in urgent need of making the education system technologically updated and employment-oriented so that a large chunk of the population could be stopped from going abroad looking for hazardous jobs.
Since literacy of citizens boosts awareness levels and guides a society towards a developed state by ending backwardness, the government is doing its best to make every citizen literate. However, while running its literacy campaigns, the government must ensure no citizen, no matter where they are living and what they are doing, would be left out on any pretexts. Besides bureaucratic hassles, there are instances where officials responsible for conducting literacy campaigns fail to comply with requirements.
Also, many officials and educators show their unwillingness for going to remote areas to run literacy classes. Such tendencies should be discouraged. Literacy classes should reach all informal settings such as factories, farms, herders’ pasture camps and shelters of trash scavengers.