Eradication of illiteracy should become a people’s movement– Vice President

The Vice President, M. Venkaiah Naidu today urged all stakeholders, including the private sector, to come forward and supplement the government’s work in the field of adult education and skills training. Stressing the need to make every adult literate, he also highlighted the need to focus on digital literacy and financial literacy among the masses.

Addressing the gathering after presenting the prestigious Nehru and Tagore Literacy Awards in New Delhi today, the Vice President said that it was disappointing that despite making great progress in various fields like IT and digitization, India still has the largest number of illiterate persons in the world. Calling for urgent steps to address this challenge, he wanted the literacy drive to become a people’s movement. “Every educated youth in villages and colonies should come forward and teach at least one person from their localities or communities how to write and, how to operate digital devices and how to avail themselves of benefits of government schemes,” he said and termed it as their PSR – Personal Social Responsibility. ‘Each one-teach one’ should not merely remain a slogan, rather it should become a motivating force for the youth, he said.

Calling for eradicating illiteracy in mission mode, Naidu also advised the schools to encourage their students to begin adult education drives in their areas on weekends. “Students should be given some extra marks for such activities,” he said.

Praising all awardees for their noteworthy contribution to the cause of adult education, the Vice President asked everyone to resolve to make India a fully literate and educated nation. “Literacy and education liberate people. They serve as the basic instruments of change and progress,” he said. Apart from illiteracy, he also emphasized the need to address various other challenges on priority such as poverty, urban-rural divide, social discrimination and gender discrimination.

Noting that high rates of literacy are directly related to a country’s economic progress and the quality of life of its citizens, Naidu suggested that in a developing country like India, literacy is even more important as it helps in better implementation and outcome of various developmental programs. Terming literacy as a precondition for skill education, the Vice President said that it not only instills confidence in a person but also helps in making one’s social life more active and dignified.

Appreciating all stakeholders for India achieving near universal Gross Enrollment Ratio at Elementary Level, the Vice President expressed his happiness over the fact that Indian girls have higher school enrolment rate than boys at primary level. “We need to move forward from universal functional literacy to skill education and lifelong learning,” he added.