India will attain total literacy in 10 years

NEW DELHI: With the literacy level in the country climbing to 74 per as per the provisional 2011 census, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal today exuded confidence that India will attain total literacy next 10 years.

He said the Census figures have shown that India would be able to achieve education for all in the age group of 6-14 by 2015 and "I am confident that if we progress at this pace India will have total literacy in the next 10 years".

Releasing a report on the completion of first year of Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act, Sibal said the Census has also silenced critics including international organisations who said India will not achieve its millennium development goals.

"They said that literacy rate will be 72 per cent in 2015. We have proved the world wrong by achieving 74.4 per cent literacy," he said.

Sibal, however, expressed concern about eight million children who are still out of school, saying a lot of effort has to be done in this regard to reduce the number.

During the last 10 years, roughly 21 crore literates were added to the population while the country also saw a 12 per cent jump in female literacy level, he said expressing happiness.

During the last one year after the implementation of the RTE, he said 15 states have notified state rules while notification of academic authority has been done by 20 states.

He said 11 states have constituted state child protection council while 20 states constituted the academic authority and 28 states have enacted policies on eight year elementary education.

Similarly, 28 states have done away with corporal punishment and 18 states have banned private tuition.

Importantly, he said 18 states have banned screening procedure and capitation fees.

He said some of the provisions of RTE would be implemented in the next two years while the provisions related to teacher qualification would be implemented within five years time.

The financial commitment for RTE is 2.31 lakh crore between 2010-11 to 2014-15, which includes Rs 24,068 crore of the 13th Finance Commission.

Sibal said "there would be no change" in the fund sharing pattern between the Centre and States for implementing RTE which stands in the ratio of 65:35.

Asked how the Ministry plans to deal with the problem of enrolment of children of migrant labourers from states like Bihar, he said the situation cannot be addressed unless there is an improvement in socio-economic condition there.

"Ask the Bihar Government. Ask them why they sent children. Why do they come here. There is an economic-social problem. This has nothing to do with RTE. Unless there is improvement in socio-economic conditions, this issue cannot be addressed," he said.

Sibal, however, singled out the State for the robust growth in female and male literacy rates.

He said the growth in the female literacy level has been 107 per cent while the growth of the male literacy level was 74.83 per cent.

He also dismissed suggestions for a separate grievance redressal bodies to monitor effective implementation of RTE, saying states have already set up committees while the Government has set up various bodies for the purpose of implementation of the Act.

Several organisations including the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) had suggested strengthening of the redressal mechanism.(PTI)

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