KATHMANDU, Jan 22
With a remarkable achievement in reading and writing along with the ability to use mobile phone and open their own bank accounts, the people of Palpa are all set to declare the district as district with higest literacy in Nepal.
While more than 22,000 adults in the Kathmandu Valley are still illiterate, Palpa has achieved 98 percent literacy in its race to meet total literacy by the end of 2015.
“To verify the claim made by the District Education Office (DEO), Palpa, an evaluation team of the Non-Formal Education Centre (NFEC) is shortly visiting the district,” according to NFEC Director Baburam Poudel.
Of the district´s total people of 237,191 of five years and above age group, only around 5,000 remain to be literate in six village development committees, the DEO, Palpa has claimed. On December 11 last year, Tansen, the district headquarters was declared the first fully literate municipality after achieving 99.98 percent literacy rate as 29,900 out of 29,905 in the town are now literate.
Among the districts in the Kathmandu Valley, Lalitpur has yet to make 4,000 people literate, Bhaktapur 8,000 and Kathmandu over 10,000, in order to meet the total literacy target, according to the NFEC. After Tansen, the Lalitpur Sub-metropolitan City is set to claim the title of second municipality with highest literacy as its 18 wards have been declared literate and more four are in process to make a declaration, said the NFEC Director Paudel. Similarly, six wards of Ratna Nagar municipality of Chitwan are in line for declaring themselves as wards with fully literate wards.
“As soon as 95 percent of the population of the municipalities become literate, we will declare them fully literate as per international practice,” mentioned Poudel.
After the government´s earlier literacy campaigns failed, the government revised the criteria for literacy. As per the new criteria, one must be fully able to read and write complete sentences, use mobile phones, use calculator and able to handle bank account.
Started with an allocation of Rs 4 billion to meet the literacy target by the end of 2015, the center has allocated around Rs 1 billion for compulsory achievement of total literacy in 36 districts across the country by 2014. The centre currently identifies 17 challenging districts with more than 50,000 illiterate populations each.
Nepal´s literacy stands at 65.9 percent as per 2011 census.