India will be free of illiteracy in 5 years: Javadekar

Jaipur: Illiteracy would be eradicated from India in five years, Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said here today.

As part of efforts to achieve that, the students of classes 6 to 12 would be roped in and trained to teach their illiterate parents and grandparents at home, he added.

“In five years, there will be no illiteracy in India.

When we got freedom, our literacy rate was just 18 per cent.

It is close to 80 per cent today and with the introduction of a noble concept, there will be no illiteracy in the country in the next five years,” said Javadekar.

He was speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the ‘Festival of Education’, jointly organised by the Rajasthan government and Gems Education India.

Talking about roping in youngsters, Javadekar said, “It will be a moment of pride for the students as well as their parents or grandparents.”

He also emphasised on making learning “enjoyable”.

“Unless you make learning enjoyable, there will always be a percentage of students dropping out,” said the HRD minister.

He added that the enrollment target in the state-run schools had been achieved all over the country and the government would now focus on imparting quality education in these schools.

“To ensure this, the examinations in classes 5 and 8 are being reintroduced. This will also help check the dropout rate in class 9. Twenty-four states have already given their consent to it,” said Javadekar.

Currently, the state-run schools follow a no-retention policy and promote all the students up to class 8.

Javadekar expressed hope that the government’s efforts to improve the quality of education would result in a “healthy competition” between the state-run and private schools in the next five years.

“We will also improve the quality of food served under the midday meal scheme by training the cooks for two days on hygiene and taste preferences,” he said.

On the occasion, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje said her government had taken several initiatives to transform the state’s educational infrastructure and institutions, adding that the focus was on improving the quality of education.

Delivering the keynote address, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, the Minister of Culture of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), said education led to innovation which, in turn, developed a nation and society.

He also said it should be ensured that the quality of education imparted to girls matched the quality of education imparted to boys.

The two-day ‘Festival of Education’ is being attended by innovators, policy-makers, teachers, students and parents from all over the country.