The once successful literacy campaign which brought several accolades to the state is now crippled by lack of funds and resource persons. After Kerala achieved total female literacy, the central funds from the National Literacy Mission (NLM) were stopped in 2009. As per reports last year, the KSLMA, now fully funded by the state, had a debt burden of around Rs 12 crore which it owed to local bodies for its various projects. “We are trying to sustain many of our continuing education centres through the Income Generating Programmes,” said R Sasikumar, Joint Director, KSLMA. This shortage in funds affects mainly literary activities for tribal, coastal and slum areas, the three pockets where the 18,31,203 unlettered persons in the state are said to be concentrated.
The Mission is now awaiting a NLM nod for a 50 crore project for improving literacy in these ‘low literacy pockets’. The shortage of resource persons has also affected the literacy campaign activities. When the Mission started in 1998, it had around 4000 continuing education centres with two preraks (literacy volunteers) each. But now the number of preraks have fallen to around half their original strength and nearly a thousand centres have become defunct, KSLMA officials said.