Kerala’s northern-most district is set to get a new honour in the field of education- on Sunday; Kasaragod will be declared the second district in the country after Kannur to have attained total primary education.
The distinction comes to the district after the success of the Vigyan Jyothi Scheme, a joint venture of the Kasaragod District Panchayat and the Kerala State Literacy Mission Authority (KSLMA), which is seeking to achieve total fourth-grade equivalency in the state by 2016, according to joint director R Sasikumar. The Vigyan Jyothi Scheme, which began in February 2008, was a massive public campaign initiated and funded by the Kasaragod panchayat in the district, block and village-levels, according to KSLMA officials. “The success of the programme came from the mass participation in the scheme as the enitre district rose to the challenge,” P Prasanthkumar, district coordinator said. “There were many rallies and awareness campaigns and cultural activities to attract people from all sections. Endosulfan victims and differently-abled people who couldn’t attend classes were taught in their homes. Apart from preraks, around 2,000 instructors also took the classes.”
“Under the scheme, which targeted 18 to 50-year-olds who had not completed primary education, examinations were conducted in seven phases with around 12,610 writing the exam, and 96 percent of them clearing them,” the KSLMA officials said.
(According to international guidelines, crossing 90 per cent is considered total achievement). “The district had to deal with the challenges of illiteracy and language-barriers (being the land of seven languages),” Prasanthkumar said. “Also with the last elections, there were also the difficulties of regime change,” he said.
The basis for the declaration of total primary education, he said, was an evaluation of the scheme by the State Resource Centre - the autonomous body funded by the National Literacy Mission- which was submitted as a report to the KSLMA. Minister of State for HRD Shashi Tharoor will declare the district as having attained total primary education at a function to be held on October 6.
In 2010, Kannur became the first district in the country to have achieved this honour.