Mass Education and Library dept to involve university students for literacy awareness
Kolkata: The state Mass Education and Library department will involve university students to give a push to their literacy drive across the state.
"I have held talks with the Vice-Chancellors of three leading universities and they have agreed to involve some of their students in our programme to eradicate illiteracy. There are as many as nine districts in the state where literacy drive needs special attention," Mass Education minister Siddiqullah Chowdhury said on the sidelines of a progamme to commemorate International Literacy Day.
Suranjan Das, Vice-Chancellor of Jadavpur University, Sonali Chakraborty (Bandyopadhyay), V-C of Calcutta University and Abu Taleb Khan, V-C of Aliah University attended the programme and agreed to the minister's proposal to involve a section of their students in the literacy drives.
According to sources in the Mass Education department, the India Literacy Mission in 2009 had given a target of making 50 lakh people in Bengal literate by 2017. The state, according to Chowdhury, has already made 46 lakh people literate.
"We are working hard to achieve the target. There are nine districts in the state namely Cooch Behar, North Dinajpur, South Dinajpur, Jalpaiguri, Malda, Mursidabad, Bankura, Purulia and Birbhum where the literacy percentage is reasonably low, not more than 50 percent. We are focusing on these districts," Chowdhury said.
The literacy programme of the state is going on in full swing in 1,364 gram panchayats and 144 blocks in the state. The minister also expressed his concerns over the literacy rate in Kolkata which is far lower than East Midnapore.
In Kolkata, 19 percent male and 28 percent female are still illiterate. "The time has come when we feel that we have to urge mothers to tell their children that they will give their child food only after he reads," Chowdury said sarcastically.
He also slammed the Narendra Modi government alleging that the Centre has decreased funds in literacy programme. "UNESCO feels that illiteracy from the country can be eradicated by the year 2030. However, is the Centre serious about this? Chowdhury questioned adding that the Mamata Banerjee government since 2011 has made a three fold increase in the budget of mass education.
Speaker of West Bengal Legislative Assembly Biman Banerjee, state Consumer Affairs minister Sadhan Pande, and state Co-operation minister Arup Roy also attended the programme at Rabindra Sadan.