Education: The Ministry of Education (MoE) is readying for the 2020 target of achieving 100 percent adult literacy rate by strengthening the Non-Formal and Continuing Education Division (NFCED) programme.

It is doable, said director general of Department of Adult and Higher Education (DAHE), Tshewang Tandin. “But we will have to achieve the 2017 target first.”

MoE has some way to go to take the current 55.3 percent adult literacy rate to 70 percent by the end of 2017. Adult literacy baseline will be out in May.

Tshewang Tandin said that in order to achieve the 2017 target, DAHE will require rationalization of non-formal education centres. The department will also have to strengthen advocacy and awareness programmes to enhance enrolment.

DAHE will develop appropriate need-based curriculum materials by incorporating Gross National Happiness (GNH) values and principles.

“Our aim is to catch more people who have not gone to the school,” Tshewang Tandin said. “There are many who have not attended school.”

DAHE’s report on implementation status of NFE outlines strategies to strengthen NFCED programmes. The department will carry out literacy mapping in dzongkhags and thromdes to ascertain the number of illiterate population and institute a strategic planning to ensure equitable access to NFCED services.

Among the many strategies, the department will explore and strengthen collaboration and partnership with relevant stakeholders. A strategic need-based capacity-building programme for NFE instructors, including online trainings, will be carried out, and institute a system of regular monitoring and evaluation for NFE programmes at all levels.

The report says that initiatives will be launched to promote life skills and life-long learning and to enhance vocational and rural development skills so that beneficiaries can generate income.

NFCED currently has three programmes – NFE programme, Continuing Education (CE) programme, and Community Learning Centre (CLC) programme. NFCED programmes has benefited approximately to 174,000 learners so far.

There are 682 NFE instructors in the country – 211 male and 471 female. Monks have also been recruited as instructors.

There are 13 CLCs and 14 CE centres with 1,386 learners in the country today.

Rajesh Rai, Phuentsholing