Literacy Rate Illiterate Population
91.6 % 1.2 million
source :  2000 figures estimated by UNESCO Institute for Statistics, July 2002

National Literacy Goals
YEAR 2005 2010 2015
Total adult literacy rate (%) 97 98 100
Female adult literacy rate (%) 95 97 100
Male adult literacy rate (%) 97 98 100

Definition of a Literate Person

A person is literate when one can both read and write with understanding a short simple statement on his/her everyday life.

Name of National Literacy Agency

Non-Formal Education Branch in the Ministry of Education.

"Literacy Facts and Figures" of Sri Lanka
Structure of National Literacy Agency

Number of NGOs working in the field of literacy 4
Number of literacy classes in most recent year 866 in year 2000
Number of classroom hours designated to achieve basic literacy 36 hours per month

National Policies and Strategies
National Policies on Literacy / Non-formal Education in Latest Policy Document on Education

"Opportunities should be provided for adults to acquire functional literacy through programmes organized by the Non-Formal Education Branch of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education with the assistance of non-governmental organizations and agencies. As education is a life-long process, opportunities will have to be provided for all those who are interested in further education" (Reforms in General Education - National Education Commission -1997).

Current Literacy / Non-formal Education Objectives /Strategies
a. To provide compulsory education to all children between the ages of 5 - 14 years.
b. To provide educational opportunities for those who have failed to enter the formal education system or those who have dropped out.

To prepare alternative structures through non-formal education for continuing education.

To achieve these objectives the following projects have been designed:
a. Enactment of regulations on compulsory education.
b. Survey to identify non-school-going children and reasons for non-attendance.
c. Strategies to bring non-school-going children within the formal and non-formal education system.
d. Attentive educational opportunities.
e. Establishment of a monitoring mechanism.
Lessons Learned from Past Literacy Programmes and Activities

Past literacy programmes offered a wide range of curricula consisting of mother tongue, numeracy skills, environmental education and vocational skills. Those who came to literacy centres were able to join the formal school according to their achievement levels. The rest who needed vocational training joined the N.F.E. vocational skills development programmes . Some seek employment. Those who seek jobs need more skill development activities in these centres. To meet these needs the existing curriculum should be modified.

The participants presently engaged in vocations acquired numeracy and literacy skills i.e. ability to write letters, read and understand statements or a job card relevant to their employment. These participants are enriched and promoted to higher levels of education.

[Updated in April 2003]

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