Considered to be a fundamental right, literacy can be explained as the ability of an individual to read and write. As a persistent process of learning, it forms the bedrock for education. As mentioned by UNESCO, literacy is accounted to be one of the key factors in building a nation. Therefore, on November 17, 1965 UNESCO proclaimed September 8th as International Literacy Day. Each year everyone is reminded of the importance of literacy and adult learning through celebrations across the globe on this day.
It is for the same reason that education forms an essential part of the enlisted Millennium Development Goals(MDGs). Reasoning the need for mention of literacy as a right, it expands the horizons for individuals, families, communities to an array of benefits. While ensuring individual participation in society, environment and economy, it enhances an individual’s self esteem. Also, it leads to improved analytical, decision making, creative skills among populace which in turn results in nation building.
In its race to become the next super power, India through its initiatives like e-education, e-basta, Nand Ghar under the umbrella campaign of ‘Digital India’ has been promoting education among all including the population in the rural areas. By implementing such campaigns, the government is working backwards to build synergy between literacy and foresighted sustainable development goals. All are aimed at bringing a cultural change leading to transformation of existing youth to a capable workforce, resulting in nation building.
A UNESCO literacy report mentions that about 2/3rd of the world’s total youth population comprise of females. The report also mentions that there is a steady fall in the number of illiterate population, though not much difference has been noticed in the number of illiterate women. India ranks at first position among the nations with more than 25 million uneducated females and less than 15 million uneducated males. This has made the government think more towards providing education to women. Thus, the government of India, through its various campaigns and initiatives for educating female populace, is trying to bring in a socio-cultural change. Fiinovation suggests that that issues such as timing, location, gender biasness, social stigmas like poverty etc. have created hurdles for women’s education in India. Today, the need is not only to focus on designing literacy programmes for women, but also assuring women’s participation in programmes, foresightedly leading to sustainable development. Fiinovation mentions that providing a sustainable approach towards women empowerment needs a different approach to understand how women will adapt and engage with the process of changes. Today, as the world celebrates the 50th year of International Literacy Day, Fiinovation suggests adoption of various ingenious ways to engage with lesser read women populace.
By – Aditi Singh
Programme Manager- Media & Communication