Literacy Rate Illiterate Population
57.2 % 287.0 million
source :  2000 figures estimated by UNESCO Institute for Statistics, July 2002

National Literacy Goals
YEAR 2005 2010 2015
Total adult literacy rate (%) 75 ... ...
Female adult literacy rate (%) 75 ... ...
Male adult literacy rate (%) 75 ... ...

Definition of a Literate Person

A person is literate who has attained skill in reading and writing simple text and numeracy.

Name of National Literacy Agency

National Literacy Mission

"Literacy Facts and Figures" of India
Structure of National Literacy Agency

Number of NGOs working in the field of literacy 136
Number of literacy classes in most recent year ...
Number of classroom hours designated to achieve basic literacy 200 hrs. of learning for basic literacy
National Policies and Strategies
National Policies on Literacy / Non-formal Education in Latest Policy Document on Education


Current Literacy / Non-formal Education Objectives /Strategies

Goals and Objectives

The goal of the National Literacy Mission is to attain full literacy, i.e. a sustainable threshold level of 75 % by 2005. The mission seeks to achieve this goal by imparting functional literacy to non-literates in the 15-35 age group. This age group has been the focus of attention because they are in the productive and reproductive period of life. The total literacy campaign offers them a second chance, in case they missed the opportunity or were denied access to mainstream formal education.

The mission also takes into its fold children in the 9.14 age group, in areas not covered by non-formal education programmes to reach the benefits of literacy to out-of-school children as well. The major thrust of these programmes is on the promotion of literacy among women, scheduled castes and tribes and backward classes.

The National Literacy Mission eventually aims at ensuring that the total literacy campaigns and their sequel, the post-literacy campaigns, successfully move on to continuing education, which provides life-long learning and is responsible for the creation of a learning society.

Strategy to achieve the set goals

Adopted a national strategy in mission mode to take care of the need for diversity of approach and inter -regional variations.
Stress on proper environment building and active participation of the people, especially women.
Encourage joint efforts by Governmental and Non-Governmental organisations.
Preparation of local specific primers in local languages.
Integrated approach to total literacy and post-literacy programmes to tackle the problem of residual illiteracy and to reduce the time gape between TLC and PLP.
Stress on vocational training of neo-literates to facilitate linking literacy with life skills.
Lessons Learned from Past Literacy Programmes and Activities
A number of significant programmes have been taken up since Independence to eradicate illiteracy among adults through different programmes like Social Education (1951-56), Gram Shiksha Muhim, Farmers Functional Literacy (1967-68), Non-Formal Education, Polyvalent Adult Education, Education Commission, Functional Literacy for Adult Women, National Adult Education Programme, Rural Functional Literacy Project, State Adult Education Programme, Adult Education through Voluntary Agencies etc.
Earlier there was also a campaign made for a two-year duration of 40 hours' instruction, and evaluation was conducted at the end of the campaign.
After the launch of NLM in 1988, between 1988 and 1990, the Mission tried to consolidate the earlier centre-based programme to make its implementation more effective through the campaign-based approach. The real breakthrough came with an experiment in mass literacy, a campaign initiated in 1989 and successfully completed in Ernakulam District of Kerala.

[Updated in April 2003]

Your feed-back / comments to education@accu.or.jp

Copyright (c) UNESCO and the Asia/Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO, 1997