Non-formal education system comes to a halt

Non-formal education system comes to a halt
Highlights

Nonformal education system introduced to access educational opportunities for neoliterates and semiliterates is virtually nonexistent in Telangana for the last one year as the government discontinued funding the implementing agency State Resource Center SRC

Hyderabad: Non-formal education system introduced to access educational opportunities for neo-literates and semi-literates is virtually non-existent in Telangana for the last one year as the government discontinued funding the implementing agency State Resource Center (SRC).

The future of SRC, headquartered in Hyderabad, which extended its services for the past 40 years to the promotion of adult and continuing education in united Andhra Pradesh, is also in doldrums in the Telangana state. According to sources, the SRC is facing severe financial crunch for the last one year despite having several national and state awards recognising its stellar performance in the field of adult education.

It may be mentioned here that the SRCs are functioning as independently-registered societies funded under the National Literacy Mission Authority (NLMA) of the Union HRD Ministry as a Centrally-Sponsored Scheme (CSS).

Since its establishment in 1978 till February 2018, the SRC did not face any problem in funding, either from the Centre through NLMA and the state government providing matching grant as its part of the share to the CSS. But, the earlier model of funding has been changed two years ago and the current pattern of funding to the SRCs is that the Centre and states have to bear the expenditure in the ratio of 60:40.

However, the entire work of the literacy mission has come to a grinding halt in Telangana since February 2018 hitting hard the Center's Saakshar Bharat Mission (SBM) and the Telangana government’s objective to achieve 'Akshara Telangana’ to make the state 100 per cent literate.

When contacted, official sources in the State Adult Education Department (SAED) said the release of funds to the CSS has been pending since February 2018. This resulted in the state government not releasing its part of the matching grant.

Speaking to The Hans India, a senior official from the SDED said, “It is the material prepared by the SRC which has been driving the literacy mission through adult education centres across the state in the erstwhile AP and now in Telangana."

That apart, the SRC has won the best research ward (1993), Sardar Patel National Literacy Award-UNO (2003), NLMA-UNESCO Award-2010, Saaskhar Bharat National Literacy Award-2012 and Nehru Literacy Award in 2006 in recognition of its works.

Apart from shouldering the literacy mission, the SRC is also engaged in preparing publicity, literature, training manuals and the like for both the Central and the State government schemes.

But, non-release of funds for the last one year from under the NLMA has left the fate of the SRC existence in question. Besides, 18,000 village-level coordinators and around 430 mandal-level coordinators engaged in the literacy programmes are left in a lurch.

"The coordinators, most of them are young and unemployed men and women working in the grassroots on a meagre monthly honorarium in the villages and at mandal level. Currently, the SRC is surviving on the revenues generated for working on projects given to it by various state government departments.

And, the repeated pleas of the SRC staff to the NLMA, Union HRD Ministry and even to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for saving the 40-year-old institution, so far has fallen on deaf ears. This is the sorry state of SRC in Telangana at a time when the state is standing in the 35th position in literacy rate among the states and Union Territories in the country.

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