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Mission adult education gets wings

Patna, Dec. 9: The centrally sponsored Saakshar Bharat Mission, after much delay, will be formally launched in the state on Saturday.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh launched the mission in 2009 to ensure organised adult education. The pilot project was launched in three districts of the state — Khagaria, Begusarai and Bhojpur — the same year. After huge success of the pilot project, the Saakshar Bharat Mission will now be expanded to the remaining 35 districts.

Sanjay Kumar Kundan, assistant director, mass education, state human resource development (HRD) department, said: “Under the mission, persons aged 15 years and above will be made literate. The focus will be on women. Though the scheme is centrally sponsored, it will be implemented with assistance from the state government.”

The mission was supposed to be launched in the remaining districts last year but was delayed because of the model code of conduct being in effect during the Assembly elections.

The Saakshar Bharat Mission will involve community panchayati raj institutions and women self-help groups in its endeavour. Around 495 blocks with 7,739 panchayats will be covered under the mission.

Elaborating the project’s objective, Kundan said each panchayat would have a Lok Shiksha Kendra. A male and a female prerak, elected by the panchayat, will comprise a Lok Shiksha Kendra to monitor the volunteers under the mission. Each Lok Shiksha Kendra will have around 50-60 Shiksha Kendras, where each volunteer would educate around 20-30 persons in an area.

Under the programme, focus will be on people belonging to Mahadalit, minority and other backward castes and communities. Special emphasis will be given to female literacy.

The state government will hire the services of Class X students, who will act as volunteers in imparting education. A volunteer has to be a matriculate to be eligible for the task and would be provided Rs 2,000 for their service.

The volunteers, in consultation with the residents of the area, would select the spot to conduct the classes — either the panchayat bhavan or a villager’s residence, with due permission.

According to the Saakshar Bharat Mission, the state and Centre will collaborate to spend Rs 230 on each beneficiary. The state government will also provide learning material to every person, who will be made literate under the programme.

Sources in the HRD department said the state government plans to construct 4,24,398 Shiksha Kendras in the first stage, of which 1,70,480 would start functioning from Saturday. The remaining will become functional in 10-15 days.

A much acclaimed policy of the Union government, the Saakshar Bharat Mission, strives to increase the country’s literacy rate to 80 per cent by 2015.