Sunday Dec 4, 2022
Sunday Dec 4, 2022

‘World literacy Day 2022’ : Challenges for Nepal

Literacy rates are steadily increasing in the country, however the gender gap remains significantly high.

2022 Sep 08, 6:40, Kathmandu

 International Literacy Day (ILD) has been celebrated around the world since 1967, to collectively revere the value of education and literacy in a person’s life. The past decades has seen a tremendous improvement in the literacy rate of the world, however there is a long way to go in promoting education and making it accessible in neglected regions. 771 million young people and adults lack basic literacy skills in the world today.

Due to recent hurdles in education, caused by the pandemic, 24 million students have left formal education, according to the official report of UNESCO. It has now become important to diversify learning approaches and platforms to cater the needs of all learners.

This year, International Literacy Day is being celebrated worldwide under the theme, Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces which will be crucial in revisiting the traditional or regular learning places to include more quality and inclusiveness. Transforming learning spaces will help achieve the goal of ‘education for all’.

The literacy rate of people who are 15 years and older in Nepal is 67. 9 percent which is higher in the young population of 15 to 24 years. People aged 65 or older have an literacy rate of 23.6 percent only. Nepal has seen numerous oppressive periods, when literacy of the people was deliberately sanctioned with harsh rules, to maintain the oppressive regimes of the rulers. This has resulted in the high illiteracy rate among Nepalese, especially of those who are older.

Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology
Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology

Besides age, there is a huge gender gap in Nepal’s literacy rate. Almost 80 percent of men are literate in Nepal whereas the literacy rate of women is just about 60 percent. Similarly, the datas from the older generation reveals a bigger problem in equity among the genders of Nepal. Not even 9 percent of the women aged 65 or older are literate in Nepal, whereas more that 41 percent of males of the same age are literate. With the influence of different social, cultural , economical and even geographical factors, women fall far behind in terms of literacy in Nepal.

A 2018 research, ‘ Statistical Trends in Literacy Rates in Nepal’ portrays the historical factors that influenced the state of literacy among Nepalies until recent times. It was only after democracy, that the democratic political system made provisions for education in Nepal. South Asian countries, Maldives and Sri Lanka have significantly higher literacy rates due to schooling and educational opportunities available for all people.

There is a steady increase of literacy among Nepalies since the last three decades, however challenges remain especially concerning women. “ Awareness should be spread at the community level to families about the importance of education, similarly the government supported schemes of providing financial help to the families of girl children can work as a good promoter of literacy rate among women in Nepal,” says education specialist and lecturer Radhika Ghimire. “ The discouragement of the dowry system and the expansion of non-formal education for people past the school going age in their convenient time like afternoon and late evenings help a great deal in ensuring inclusivity in learning opportunities,” she adds.


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