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Literacy Rate Illiterate Population
42.2 % 613 thousand
source :  1995 figures estimated by UNESCO in 1999


National Literacy Goals
YEAR 2005 2010 2012
Total adult literacy rate (%) 60 80 100
Female adult literacy rate (%) 50 80 100
Male adult literacy rate (%) 55 80 100

Definition of a Literate Person

One who can independently read and write for communication and solve new problems using literacy skills.

Name of National Literacy Agency

Non-formal Education Division, Education Department

"Literacy Facts and Figures" of Bhutan
Structure of National Literacy Agency
HRD Plan for Non Formal Education (Year 2002 to 2007)
Proposed management structure

Dzongkhag and grassroots level management structure of Non Formal Education

Number of NGOs working in the field of literacy ...
Number of literacy classes in most recent year 190 centres including 45 post literacy centres as of June 2001
Number of classroom hours designated to achieve basic literacy 624 hours (one year, 2 hours a day, 5 days a week)


National Policies and Strategies
National Policies on Literacy / Non-formal Education in Latest Policy Document on Education
To eradicate illiteracy by the year 2012.
All the adult population above 15 years of age will be functionally literate and numerate in the national language.
Current Literacy / Non-formal Education Objectives /Strategies
Provision of basic literacy programme in Dzongkha to adult population will be a priority objective of the next 5-year plan.
Lessons Learned from Past Literacy Programmes and Activities
The best way to succeed with literacy programmes is to have active involvement of the local authorities and guide their involvement in the right direction.
Role of formal school teachers in NFE can help in promoting literacy more effectively.
National Policy and Strategies

The Royal Government of Bhutan places a very strong emphasis on providing education opportunities for all Bhutanese people. It aims to provide nine years of education free of charge and to ensure that all Bhutanese receive a basic education. Basic education in Bhutan is understood to be that which improves quality of life, allows successful living in society and provides knowledge and skills for application in work and general living.

The Division of Non-Formal Education (DNFE) will provide basic education opportunities for those disadvantaged groups that do not take part in formal education. The DNFE is therefore involved in expanding the range of opportunities for basic education. The following constitutes its responsibilities:

1. Developing curricula and effective NFE programmes which address disadvantaged population.
2. Training teachers and volunteers in teaching methods.
3. Providing teachers with support and materials to enhance their teaching.
4. Establishment of community learning centres and post literacy centres with reading corners and vocational training facilities.
5. Establishment of non-formal education centres in different Dzongkhags.
6. Planning and monitoring the implementation of NFE programmes.
Current Non-formal Education Objectives/Strategies

The Importance of Today's Literacy: Literacy and basic education are really becoming effective tools to help people solve the problems they face in their daily life and also assist them to live in harmony with their rapidly changing environment. People today have to be able to realize that they can use education to seek vocational skills to improve the quality of life so as to attain happiness, which is based on each individual's personal experiences. Complete happiness can be achieved when there is no physical or emotional conflict between a person and his/her environment physically or mentally. This shows that basic education or literacy today play important roles as tools that will enable individuals to create their own harmony between themselves and today's rapidly changing surroundings.

Literacy as a tool for quality of life and social development: It was committed during the World Conference on EFA that by the Year 2000, basic education (reading and writing skills) would be given to every citizen in the country. It is also believed that development springs from investment in human resources. Thus, if the majority of the people in the country are well educated, it means that the country has valuable and qualified national human resources with high potential in developing a country to create prosperity in various fields. This significantly reveals that good quality of an individual's life with high education leads to national development as a whole.

Strategies for organizing literacy/non-formal education:

1. Gathering all forces from every part of society as well as from the public communities, GOs, NGOs, monastic bodies and private sectors, etc. to have participation and responsibility in providing non formal education with the support of resources such as the Department's networks. This will help the out-of-school population all over the country to have access to the NFE services.
2. Provision of NFE programmes to be responsive to the needs of the learners so that they can choose to learn the programmes relevant to their previous knowledge and experiences. Learning and teaching process has also been adjusted so as to be more flexible and have more variety, to enable the learners to seek knowledge continuously throughout their lives.
3. Besides emphasizing other aspects of the programme, place special emphasis on post-literacy and continuing education for the neo-literates so that they can be prevented from relapsing into illiteracy.
4. Continuation of full-cycle development of non-formal education by using research and development process to improve quality of work of every unit of the NFE Division.
5. Use of information technology in management and development of learning and teaching process in order to provide equal opportunity to the people to acquire qualitative and standardized education, as well as to enable them to learn by themselves in the current information society.

[Updated in April 2003]

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