Srinagar, Jan 24: The School Education Department (SED) in Jammu and Kashmir has identified and registered over six lakh non-literate individuals, aged 15 and above, for the adult education programme.
These individuals have been registered on Understanding Lifelong Learning for All in Society (ULLAS) online portal run by Government of India for “Nav Bharat Saksharta Karyakramme" (NBSK) - erstwhile Adult Education Programme.
Launched by the Government of India in 2022, the initiative was implemented in Jammu and Kashmir from September 2023, coinciding with the literacy week commemoration in J&K.
The new Centrally Sponsored Scheme “Nav Bharat Saksharta Karyakramme” has been approved for 2022-2027 to cover all the aspects of education for all (erstwhile termed as adult education) to align with National Education Policy 2020.
Talking to Greater Kashmir, an official said that under this scheme, the department covers individuals who are 15 years of age and older for adult education.
"We started implementing this scheme in September 2023. Subsequently, individuals aged 15 and above, who are illiterate and have never attended school, were identified through various surveys conducted by Chief Education Officers (CEOs)," the official told Greater Kashmir.
He said that some surveys were conducted by concerned Deputy Commissioners (DCs) and those surveys were re-authenticated through their respective CEO offices.
"After identifying these non-literates, they were registered online on the ULLAS portal," the official said.
He said that as per the survey, over six lakh non-literates have been registered on the portal till date. "The actual number of non literates who have been identified during the survey is expected to be higher but as of now, around 607,621 individuals have been registered online," the official said.
He said that along with the registration of non-literates, the department has also registered volunteers who will teach these individuals. "Actually this scheme is a volunteer-driven programme, and volunteers can be government employees or retired employees or any other educated person. Currently, 50,404 volunteers are registered on the online portal, who will teach non-literates at their convenience," the official said.
The official said they have also established a unit in the nearby schools for these non-literates, and an official order for this purpose is expected soon. "The unit has been kept available for these non-literates where they can use the school facility or ICT lab as well. This facility is referred to as an adult education centre," the official said.
He said the lower age limit for the individuals to be included in this programme is 15 years, and there is no upper age limit. "The funding for this programme is in a 90:10 ratio by the Central and state government," he said. The financial outlay of “Nav Bharat Saksharta Karyakramme” is Rs.1037.9 crore.
While this programme started in other states in 2022-23, it was launched in Jammu and Kashmir in 2023-24. "Our initial target was to identify at least three lakh individuals, but so far, we have identified more than six lakh individuals," the official said.
The official said under the scheme the individuals will be imparted basic education, digital and financial literacy and critical life skills, who lost the opportunity to go to school.
"The scheme will be run through training, orientations, and workshops of volunteers through face-to-face mode. All material and resources shall be provided digitally for easy access to registered volunteers through easily accessible digital modes, viz, TV, radio, cell phone-based free or open-source Apps or portals," an official said.
The Government of India has fixed a target of five crore learners for Foundational Literacy and Numeracy by using “Online Teaching, Learning and Assessment System (OTLAS)” in collaboration with NIC, NCERT and NIOS.