National Literacy Mission (NLM)
National Literacy Mission was launched on May 5, 1988 as a Technology Mission to impart functional literacy to non-literates in the country in the age group of 15-35 years in a time bound manner. This age group has been the focus of attention because they are in the productive and reproductive period of life. The National Education Policy – 1986, as modified in 1992, also has recognised National Literacy Mission as one of the three instruments to eradicate illiteracy from the country, the other two being Universalisation of Elementary Education and Non-formal Education.
The success of the Ernakulam literacy campaign in 1990 provided the much-needed clue to the manner in which the Mission can move to achieve its desired objectives. The campaign mode, which was adopted as the dominant strategy under the Mission, has proved to be the most appropriate in Indian conditions. Through these campaigns not only the 3 R’s are imparted to the beneficiaries, they are also made aware of their rights and responsibilities towards their family, society and the country so that they can play appropriate roles in the development of the country as a whole. Thus the campaigns have been launched not only for spreading literacy but also for family welfare, immunisation, mother and child health care, conservation of environment, communal harmony, cohesion, national integration etc.
The Mission objective was to impart functional literacy to 80 million illiterate persons in 15-35 age group – 30 million by 1990 and additional 50 million by 1995. However, now the goal of the Mission is to attain a sustainable threshold literacy rate of 75 per cent by 2007.
The Mission also takes into its fold children in the age group of 9-14, 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.
National Literacy Mission eventually aims at ensuring that the Total Literacy Campaigns (TLC) and their sequel, the Post-Literacy Programme (PLP), successfully move on to Continuing Education (CE), which provides a life-long learning and is responsible for the creation of a learning society.