National Literacy Mission
On 5th May, 1988 a mission mode programme for promoting adult literacy was launched as National Literacy Mission (NLM) countrywide to impart functional literacy to non-literates in the country in the age group of 15-35 years in a time-bound manner. The then ongoing schemes of National Literacy Mission were concluded in the month of September, 2009 on account of launch of new variant of the scheme under the name of Saakshar Bharat (Literate India) with effect from September, 2009.
Recognizing that literacy is a force multiplier for all actions of social development, the Saakshar Bharat programme was launched as the national adult education programme of India on 8th September 2009, the ‘International Literacy Day’, and was extended till 31st March, 2018. The programme aimed at achieving 80% national literacy level and reducing the gender gap (between male and female) of literacy to the level of 10 percentage points.
The districts that had an adult female literacy rate of 50 per cent or below, as per 2001 Census, were made eligible for coverage under the Saakshar Bharat programme. In addition, all districts affected by extremist violence, irrespective of their adult female literacy rate, were also eligible for coverage under the programme. Accordingly, a total of 410 districts including 35 Left Wing Extremism Affected districts were identified as eligible for coverage under the programme. Out of 410 districts eligible for coverage under the Saakshar Bharat Programme, 404 districts in 26 states and 1 Union Territory covering about 1.64 lakh Gram Panchayats (cluster of Revenue Villages) were covered.
The beneficiaries under the programme were primarily women belonging to the deprived sections of the society. The principal target was to impart Functional Literacy to 70 million non-literates (SCs-14 Million, STs-8 Million, Muslims-12 Million and others-36 million) including 60 million women.
Teaching Learning Activities
Basic Literacy implies the achievement of self-reliance in Reading, Writing and Arithmetic (Numeracy) and becoming aware of the causes of the one’s deprivation. The programme entailed identification of non-literates through a survey, area-wise mapping of their learning needs and imparting them instructor-based teaching of about 300 hrs spread over 3 months or beyond depending on motivation of the learners and local conditions. A volunteer acted as a mobiliser, trainer and teacher and was responsible for imparting literacy to, on an average 8-10 learners.
Assessment and Certification
Scientific Assessment and Certification of the competency levels of adults was a unique innovation introduced for the first time in the history of literacy movement in India. Only an adult, who conformed to prescribed competency levels in reading, writing and numeracy, was certified as literate. Assessments were conducted through a system developed by the National Literacy Mission Authority (NLMA) in consultation with the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS).
Learners were assessed in reading, writing and arithmetic skills. Assessments were also designed to gauge the learner’s general awareness, including that of social issues. Learners who scored 40% marks in all three components were declared successful and given a certificate jointly by NLMA and NIOS. Candidates who were not able to succeed were given further chances to improve the grade in the skills in which they had not been successful. This type of assessment improved confidence in neo-literates and opened up avenues for them. This also lent robustness and credibility to the programme. Bi-annual assessments were conducted every year on pre-decided dates in the month of August and March.
Scheme for Providing Education to Madrasas / Minorities –
Department of School Education & Literacy is implementing an Umbrella Scheme for Providing Quality Education to Madrasas/Minorities (SPEMM) which comprises of two schemes namely Scheme for Providing Quality Education in Madrasas (SPQEM) and Infrastructure Development of Minority Institutes (IDMI). The scheme is being implemented at the national level. Both schemes are voluntary in nature.
1. Scheme for Providing Quality Education in Madrasas (SPQEM) seeks to bring about qualitative improvement in Madrasas to enable Muslim children attain standards of the National education system in formal education subjects.
The salient features of SPQEM scheme are :
– To encourage traditional institutions like Madrasas and Maktabs by giving financial assistance to introduce Science, Mathematics, Social Studies, Hindi and English in their curriculum so that academic proficiency for classes I-XII is attainable for children studying in these institutions.
– To provide opportunities to students of these institutions to acquire education comparable to the National Education System especially for secondary and senior secondary levels.
– To strengthen State Madrasa Boards opting for assistance by enabling them to monitor the Madrasa modernization programme and enhance awareness about education among the Muslim community.
– To provide quality components in Madrasas such as remedial teaching, assessment and enhancement of learning outcomes, Rashtriya Avishkar Abhiyan etc.
– To provide in-service training of teachers appointed under the scheme for teaching modern subjects of Science, Mathematics, Social Studies, Hindi and English to improve their pedagogical skills and quality of teaching.
2. Infrastructure Development of Minority Institutes (IDMI) has been operationalised to augment Infrastructure in Private Aided/Unaided Minority Schools/Institutions in order to enhance the quality of education to minority children.
The salient features of IDMI scheme are:
To facilitate the education of minorities by augmenting and strengthening school infrastructure in Minority Institutions (elementary/ secondary/senior secondary schools) in order to expand the facilities for formal education to children of minority communities.
To encourage educational facilities for girls, children with special needs and those who are most deprived educationally amongst the minorities.
National Means Cum Merit Scholarship Scheme –
Background: The ‘National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme’ (NMMSS) is a Central Sector Scheme launched in May 2008 to provide scholarships for meritorious students of classes IX to XII. The scheme is boarded on the National Scholarship Portal (NSP).
Objective: To award scholarships to meritorious students of economically weaker sections to arrest their drop out at class VIII and encourage them to continue their study and complete the secondary stage.
Coverage: The scheme envisages award of one lakh fresh scholarships every year to selected students of class IX and their continuation/renewal in classes X to XII for study in a State Government, Government-aided and Local body schools under the scheme.
Scholarship Amount: An amount of Rs. 12000/- per student per annum. The rate of scholarship has been enhanced from Rs. 6000/- to Rs. 12000/- per year with effect from 1st April, 2017.
Eligibility criteria to appear in NMMSS selection test:
i) Students whose parental income from all sources is not more than Rs. 1,50,000/- per annum are eligible to avail the scholarships.
ii) The student must have minimum of 55 % marks or equivalent grade in Class VII examination for appearing in selection test for award of scholarship (relaxable by 5% for SC and ST students).
iii) The student should be studying as regular student in a Government, Government-aided and local body schools. Students of NVS, KVS and residential schools are not entitled for the scholarships.
iv) There is reservation as per State Government norms.
Selection of Fresh Awardee Students:
i) The selection test is conducted at the stage of class-VIII.
ii) Each State and UT conducts its own test for the selection of students for the award of the National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship. Due publicity is given by the State and UT regarding the test. Interested eligible students may contact the State Nodal Officer for details (List of ‘State Nodal Officers’).
iii) A student who fulfills the eligibility criteria must pass both the tests, i.e., Mental Ability Test (MAT) and Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) under NMMSS exam with at least 40 % marks in aggregate taken together for these two tests. For the SC/ST students, this cut off is 32% marks.
Selection of Renewal Awardee Students: The awardees should get a minimum of 55% marks in Class IX and XI, and a minimum of 60% in Class X for the continuance of scholarship (relaxable by 5% for SC/ST candidates).
National Scholarship Portal (NSP): The NSP has been developed by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) for streamlining and fast-tracking the release of Scholarships across Ministries / Departments with efficiency, transparency and reliability.
NMMSS Process under NSP:
To apply for NMMSS, students from different States and UTs, who have qualified in the MAT and SAT under NMMSS must register themselves on NSP.
The applications are verified online on the portal by the prescribed State authorities.
The final list of eligible candidates, complete in all respect, is provided to the MHRD by NSP Team for sanction of the scholarship.
The Ministry of HRD thereafter sanctions funds and releases to State Bank of India (SBI), the implementing bank for the Scheme.
The SBI disburses the scholarships to students directly by electronic transfer into their bank accounts under the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) through Public Financial Management System (PFMS).
To apply for NMMSS or to know more, click here.
National Scheme of Incentives to Girls for Secondary Education – Background: The centrally sponsored “National Scheme of Incentive to Girls for Secondary Education (NSIGSE)” was launched in May 2008, to give incentive to students enrolled in class IX. The scheme is now boarded on National Scholarship Portal (NSP).
Objective: The objective of the scheme is to establish an enabling environment to promote enrolment and reduce drop out of girls belonging to SC/ST communities in secondary schools and ensure their retention up to the 18 years of age.
Coverage: The scheme covers (i) all girls belonging to SC/ST communities who pass class VIII and (ii) all girls who pass class VIII examination from Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (irrespective of whether they belong to SC/ ST), and enroll in class IX in State/ UT Government, Government-aided and Local Body schools.
Incentive Amount: A sum of Rs.3000/- is deposited in the name of eligible unmarried girls as fixed deposit on enrolment in class IX, who are entitled to withdraw it along with interest thereon upon reaching 18 years of age and passing Class X examination.
i) Girls students who pass class VIII and are enrolled in class IX in State/ UT Government, Government-aided and Local Body schools and belonging to SC/ST communities
ii) All girls who pass class VIII examination from Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (irrespective of whether they belong to SC/ ST)
National Scholarship Portal (NSP):
The NSP has been developed by Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) for streamlining and fast tracking the release of Scholarships across Ministries / Departments with efficiency, transparency and reliability.
i) To apply for NSIGSE, students from different States and UTs, who pass class VIII and enrol in class IX in Government, Government-aided and Local Body schools must register themselves on NSP.
ii) The applications are verified online on the portal by the prescribed State authorities.
iii) The final list of eligible candidates, complete in all respect, is provided to the Ministry by NSP Team for sanction of the scholarship.
iv) The Ministry of HRD thereafter sanctions funds and releases to the Indian Bank and Union Bank of India, the implementing banks for the Scheme.
v) The banks disburse the scholarships/incentives to students directly by electronic transfer into their bank accounts under the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) through Public Financial Management System (PFMS).
Re-designing: The NSIGSE Scheme is being re-designed to make it implementable in more effective way.
National Award to Teachers –
National Award to Teachers was instituted in 1958. The purpose of the scheme is to celebrate the unique contribution of some of the finest teachers in the country and to honor those teachers who through their commitment have not only improved the quality of school education but also enriched the lives of their students. From mid-60s, the function is also held on 5th of September (Teacher’s Day) every year on account of the birthday of Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, former President of India.
The features of the new scheme are as under:
i) Online self-nominations from teachers are invited on https://mhrd.gov.in.
ii) All regular teachers are eligible and no minimum years of service are required. This enables meritorious young teachers to apply.
iii) The number of awards has been rationalized to 45, thereby restoring the prestige of the awards.
iv) No State, UT, or Organization has a quota in the final selection. This encourages them to compete for the awards.
v) An independent Jury at the National level makes the final selection.