Although Dakshina Kannada is tagged as a literate district, it has 2,15,029 illiterates aged above six years, as per the 2011 census.
The Directorate of Mass Education in Dakshina Kannada has chalked out programmes of getting illiterates in the age group of 18 to 50 years initiated into the world of letters.
According to the available statistics, out of 2,15,029 illiterates, 63,710 are men and 1,51,319 are women. The number of illiterates in rural areas of the district is 1,00,423. Mangaluru taluk has highest of 76,505 illiterates, Bantwal has 47,001, Belthangady has 38018, Puttur has 36,085 and Sullia has 17,420.
Target towards literacy
“The target for this year is initiating 11,386 persons into the literary world in Dakshina Kannada. A sum of Rs 33 lakh has been released for the purpose,” said K Sudhakar, officer, Mass Education in Dakshina Kannada, to DH.
The Department spends Rs 300 per person in initiating them into the world of literary. Under the guidance of the Zilla Panchayat, a literacy programme has been initiated in Sajipamooda Gram Panchayat in Bantwal taluk this year.
“The Gram Panchayat has 325 illiterates, of whom over 100 in the age group of 18 to 50 years are undergoing training as a part of the literacy programme. Volunteers teach them alphabets, numbers and how to read and write simple sentences at least two days a week. The trainees are getting ready to write exam to be conducted by the Department on December 15,” the officer explained.
Sudhakar said that under the literacy campaign, the illiterates are taught alphabets through a textbook titled ‘Baalige Belaku’ which has 24 lessons, for a period of six months. “After six months of training, they will undergo a simple test. They should get 40% marks to declare them as literates and a certificate will be issued to them,” he added.
The officer said under the guidance of the Zilla Panchayat, all the 230 gram panchayats in the district have been asked to visit households and identify the illiterates in the age group of 18 to 50 years.
“The census report only states there are 2.15 lakh illiterates in Dakshina Kannada – however, we do not know who they are. The survey will be taken up with the help of NGOs, Asha workers, Sthree Shakti members,” said the officer.
He added that efforts will be taken to have one volunteer for a group of 10 illiterate persons to learn to read and write. “Some of them who enrol under literacy campaign, do not wish to write exam after the six months training. If people volunteer to help, then we can take up an intensive campaign to spread literacy among the masses,” said Sudhakar.