14.08.2013 - UNESCO Office in New Delhi

International Conference on Achieving Literacy for All

A three-day International Conference on Achieving Literacy for All, which focused on effective and innovative approaches to scaling up literacy, reducing gender disparities and creating a literate world,  was organized by the National Literacy Mission Authority (NLMA), India along with UNESCO and UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL), at India Habitat Centre in New Delhi from 18-20 July 2013.

Around 100 delegates from India and other countries, namely; Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia, Nepal, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka and Timor Leste participated in the conference.

Welcoming the delegates at the inaugural function, Mr Shigero Aoyagi, Director and UNESCO Representative thanked India for hosting this important event and for its leadership.  Speaking on the literacy achievements, he said “Since Dakar to date, the world has seen a considerable increase in the literacy rate from 82 % to 84% in 2011.  As far as number of illiterate population, which was 782 million in 2000, has now decreased down to 774 million in 2011.  In India, Saakshar Bharat has successfully brought literacy skills to millions of women and men throughout the country."

While talking about the challenges of participating countries, he further said that in India alone there are still 287 million adults who cannot read and write.  Literacy being one of the most critical mandates of UNESCO, informed that in recent years, UNESCO led UNLD, launched the Literacy Initiative for Empowerment (LIFE) in 35 countries where illiteracy poses a critical challenge along with the Literacy Assessment and Measurement Programme (LAMP) that is working in 14 countries to help the Member States to have much clearer picture on the real literacy figures.

“India is to achieve 80% literacy rate in the next two years”, this was stated by the HRD Minister Dr. M. M. Pallam Raju while inaugurating the international coference. The literacy rate of India is 73 per cent at present as per the 2011 Census. He said that more than 20 crore people have become literates since the last Census of 2001 out of which more than half of them are females. To achieve the goal of 80 per cent literacy by 2015, the HRM said that the HRD Ministry is restructuring the entire adult education system in the country with a paradigm shift to lifelong education. He announced that an appropriate administrative and if required legislative process will be initiated to integrate formal, non-formal and informal learning and to formally recognize forms of education other than formal. He clarified that recognition, validation and accreditation of learning obtained through adult education will be formalized by setting up equivalency framework.

Speaking on the occasion, the UN Resident Coordinator Ms. Lise Grande complimented India for fighting illiteracy and making achievements in the field of education sector. However, she said that India should continue with its struggle against illiteracy. More than 70 crore people globally do not know reading, writing and arithmetic and most of them are in India, China, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Among the delegates, present on the occasion were Mr Abhimanyu Singh, Director, UNESCO Beijing office, Mr Subbarao IIapavuluti, Chief of Literacy and Non-formal Education, UNESCO, Paris, Ms Arne Carlson, Director UNESCO Institute of Lifelong Learning (UIL) Hamburg, Mr Ulrike Hanemann, UIL and Mr Alisher Umarov, Chief of Education, UNESCO New Delhi

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