The National Literacy Mission (NLM) was launched in 1988. It aims at imparting functional literacy to adult non-literates in the age group 15-35 in the country.
The main programmes of the NLM were the Total Literacy Campaign to impart basic literacy to the adult non-literates. It was followed by the Post Literacy Programme to reinforce the literacy skills of the neo literates. And then the Continuing Education Programme was aimed at providing facilities like rural library and reading room for the neo literates and other sections of the community. In addition, vocational training was also provided to the neo-literates and other disadvantaged sections of the society through the Jan Shikshan Sansthans.
The NLM resulted in the following major outcomes:
- It has been able to cover 597 districts in the country under various literacy programmes and nearly 124 million people are reported to have been made literate.
- The literacy rate of the country has also increased from 52.21% in 1991 to 65.37% in 2001, registering one of the highest decadal growth in literacy so far.
However, despite these gains, nearly 34% of the non-literates in the 15+ age group in the world are in India. The gender, regional and social disparities are still continuing. In view of the above, the Government of India has decided that an integrated approach to literacy would be followed now. This means the Total literacy Campaigns and the Post Literacy Programme will now operate under one literacy Project. This approach would enable the enormous illiteracy problem to be tackled in a holistic manner.
By treating the imparting of functional literacy as a continuum rather than as a one-off benefit for the illiterate person, the inputs would be made goal-directed. Literacy campaigns would continue to run in those areas where there are large pools of residual illiteracy. At the same time, for those who have crossed the basic learning phase, programmes of consolidation, vocational skills, integration with life skills and such other aspects would be given priority.