Poverty, jhum cultivation main reasons for low literacy rate

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Shillong, Jun 11 (UNI) The Meghalaya government has identified a number of reasons for the low literacy rate in the state and pointed out poverty and the shifting jhum cultivation as the main stumbling blocks in the goal of achieving education for all.

Speaking to newspersons here, State Education Minister Manas Chowdhury expressed concern over the low literacy rate and said efforts were on to raise the percentage to 75 per cent by 2012 from the existing 63.13 per cent.

The other factors responsible for the limited reach of the literacy programmes to the grassroots level were inadequate support, monitoring and lack of proper attention to the educational system.

''Meghalaya's literacy rate is lower than the national percentage of 65 per cent which is not at all a matter of pride for the state,'' the Minister said.

Of the total seven districts in the state, the lowest literacy rates were recorded in West Garo Hills (50.7 per cent), Jaintia Hills (51.9 per cent), South Garo Hills (55 per cent) and East Garo Hills districts (60.6 per cent) respectively.

There is a 30 per cent gap in literacy rate between the rural and urban areas in the state.

The state government was also considering to ask the North Eastern Council (NEC) for a comprehensive teacher training programme to improve the quality of education in the state, the Minister added.

The state government had taken initiatives to revamp the education scenario in the state and evolve strategies to identify the problem areas for lower and upper primary schools.

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