It is the memory of the glorious achievement of the Total Literacy Campaign together with the consciousness of the lack-lustre performanc which followed, during the Post Literacy phase, that motivated the Government of Kerala to take up the challenging Continuing Education Project offered by the National Literacy Mission.
The Kerala State Literacy Mission was accordingly formed by a Government order in August 1997 for the purpose of implementing the Continuing Education Project in all the 14 districts of Kerala simultaneously. The Project itself was launched on 2nd October 1998.
Education for all and forever
Continuing Education is a board concept which includes all of the learning opportunities all people want or need outside of basic literacy. It also provides opportunity to engage in lifelong learning. Both these dimensions are covered by its moto "Education for all and forever."
Further, its efforts are directed towards the creation of a learning society. No society can afford to remain static in the fast moving world. It has to keep in step with the information revolution so that it is not left behind never to recoup again. The progressive qualitative improvement of a society requires that each of its members is allowed to exploit to the maximum the opportunities provided by a learning society.
"Beyond Letters" is the new slogan of the Kerala State Literacy Mission. It suggests an objective that covers Development Literacy, Housing Literacy, Legal Literacy, Environmental Literacy, Cultural Literacy, Health Literacy Heritage Literacy etc. through Continuing Education.
What kind of Education
The education proposed by the Continuing Education Project is non-formal and life-related, and hence does not have a definite curriculum or learning process.
Continuing Education caters to a variety of learner groups, as any members of the society can be its beneficiary. The kind of education to be imparted is decided by the number and kind of variants which are peculiar to each such group or even to each individual in that group. The level of the individual's efficiency, education, or experience, his requirements, tastes and desires, the local resources, social peculiarities, cultural heritage etc. are some of these.
Further any new knowledge acquired by the learner through this education should be able to make a positive contribution towards creating a better life for him. It should be able to cultivate in him the right perspective towards his own life in relation to his immediate society and the planet on which he lives.
Retention of lietracy skills and provision of opportunities to neo-literates to take their learning beyond basic literacy
Creating scope for application of functional literacy for improvement of living conditions and quality of life.
Dissemination of information on development programmes and widening & improving participation of traditionally deprived sections of the society.
Creation of awareness about national concerns such as natioanl intgration, conservation and improvement of the environment, women's equality, observance of small family norms etc. and sharing of common problems of the community.
Improvement of economic conditions and general well being as well as improvement of prodictivity of organizing short-duration programmes, orientation courses for providing vocational skills and by taking up linkage activitiers for establishing direct linkage between continuing education and development activities.
Provision of facilities for library and reading rooms for creating an environment conductive for literacy efforts and a learning society.
Ensuring the sustainability of the Kerala Model.
Neo-literates * School droup-outs * Pass-outs of primary schools;
Pass-outs of non-formal education programme; and
All other members of the community interested in availing opportunities for life-long learning.
District Literacy Mission Office
The Literacy Mission Office in each district is headed by the District Project Coordinator. Assisted by an Assistant Project Coordinator, he coordinates the programmes within the district as per the directions of the Jilla Saksharatha Samithi.
Name of Samithi No.of No of Centres
Centres/ under each
Grama Panchayath Saksharatha Samithi 990 x3 2970
Municipal Saksharatha Samithi 55 x5 275
Corporation Saksharatha Samithi 3 x10 30
Voluntary Organisations 225
Nodal Counting Education Centres
Block Panchayath Saksharatha Samithi 152 x2 304
Municipal Saksharatha Samithi 55 x2 110
Corporation Saksharatha Samithi 3 x3 9
Voluntary Organisations 49
Dist.Panchayath (Model Centre) 14 x2 28
CEC : 3500 Nodal CEC : 500. Total : 400
Functions of CECs
· Evening Clas * Library and Reading Room
· Charcha and Adventurous activities * Information Window
· Recreational and Cultural Activities * Communication Centre
Other than these activities the CE Centre can take up more challenging areas like literacy, housing literacy, heritage literacy, educational literacy etc.
Resource Persons (K/RPs) consist of former Saksharatha activists whose role is catalytic. They do voluntary service to promote the Continuing Education Project by linking the activities of the Prerak with the Local Bodies on the one level and the people on the other. Of the 140 Key Resource Persons belonging to 14 districts half are nominated by the District Saksharatha Samithies and the other half by the State Literacy Mission. There are also 1414 Resource Persons. Their distribution follows the pattern of one in every Panchayath, two in every Block, two in every Municipality, & three in every Corporation.
An award of Rs. One Lakh each and citations are set apart each year for the
District, Nodal Continuing Education Centre and Continuing Education Centre.
The KSLM has selected Mullakkodi in Kannoor District as its best Continuing
Education Centre and Alathoor in Palakkad District as its best Nodal Continuing
Education Centre for the year 1999-2000. The Idukki District Saksharatha Samithi
has been selected to receive the award for the best Saksharatha
The Equivalency Programme has been defined by NLM as an alternate educational programme equivalent to the existing formal general or vocational education.
Equivalency Programme under the Continuing Education Programme of the KSLM was inaugurated on Jan 26, 2000 and the classes started from Feb 99. This programme is being carried out under the supervision of the local Panchayat Saksharatha Samithies. On an experimental basis, in the first year, 15 NCE/CE Centres have been chosen in each district for the purpose. The classes are being co-ordinated by the Preraks with the help of the Ward Saksharatha Samithies.
The target group is the people above the age of 15 who are either the products of the TLC/PLC or droupouts from the formal system. They are to possess a level of competency equivalent to that of Class 2 of the formal system to gain entry into the programme.
Initially the Centres offer a level 1 course eqivalent to class 3 and 4 of the formal system. Subsequently levl 2 & level 3 courses will be offered for passing standards 7 and 10.
The duration of the course of level 1 is 300 hours of which 200 hours will be contact hours. The approach is interactive and life related.
The curriculum for level 1 contains four subjects, namely, Mother tongue, Basic Mathematics, Environmental Studies and a Vocational Subject.
Preperation of Study Materials
The preperation of learning materials was given extra attention as it had to take into account the low level of education as well as the high level of social experience of the learner.
The Curriculum and text books were prepared by experts in the field in consulation with field level functionaries of the Continuing Education Project, with a view to combining a high level of academic standard with functionality and feasibility.
The self instructional material in the hand books ensures that self directed learning is encouraged and that the text books are really guidelines or starting points for further discussions and exercise of the individual's curiosity. Neither the text book nor the facilitator is allowed to stand in the way of the learner's enthusiasm for learning more. As NLM has directed "Provision for horizontal and vertical mobility" is in-built in the programme.
The basic principles for the development of learning materials for adult neo-literates have been strictly adhered to in the layout and design of the sturdy materials.
Further a committee of experts scrutinised and made necessary changes before the material went for painting.
For the vocational training, KSLM has already published specialised books. This will be supplemented by course material as and when necessary taking into account the choice made of vocational subject by the learner. As the skill development programmes will depend on the individual's needs and the local resources a lot of flexibility is incorporated into the training. KSLM will also depend on outside agencies which give vocational training
Flexibility lends itself to the needs of the learner also. A learner who already possesses a skill in the required level may skip the actual learning of a skill within the programme.
Training and Orientation
To the instructors working for the Centres training was imparted by 3 trainers in each subject at a district level training camp. The nine trainers each from the 14 districts were initially given training by state level trainers and officers of the KSLMA.
Evaluation and Certification
It is planned to conduct internal assessment as well as final external evaluation of the course. Response sheets will be given to the learners based on which internal assessment will take place. The total marks out of 400 for the four subjects will qualify or disqualify a learner.
The KSLM will give the certificate for the learner who passes Level 1 as being equivalent to having the level of the 4th standard of the formal system.
KSLM sees to it that even the literate is not left out of the scheme. Literacy
classes are being conducted in the CE Centres with the aim of converting them
to feeder courses for the Equivalency Programme. The KSLM joins with the NLM
and with the local self governing bodies to dream of a time when parity is
brought between the formal system and the Equivalency Programme so that a
learner, if he wishes, can be absorbed into any level of the formal system,
or even without that step, will be able to enjoy equality of opportunities
with every one else in the society. The KSLM hopes that, the Equivalency Programme
it has taken up, on an experimental basis, when worked under actual field
conditions, will bring up new insights to enrich it and that, the enriched
programme will be the millennium gift of Kerala to the other states of India.
Books for Continuing Education
In today's world made and ruled by information technology, information supported by a fast growing technology is infiltrating every field of life, be it agriculture, industry, construction, business, health or education, lending whatever it touches greater authority and power. Information has replaced money in the race for power.
Printed pages can no more accommodate the vast amount of information that is being produced and transmitted. There is nothing shocking when the man of the 21st century expects books to breath their last within a few years.
In the context, what, one may ask, is the relevance of the Equivalency Books published by the Kerala State Literacy Mission as part of its Continuing Education Project? The answer is that as long as there exists a section of people who also may be though unfit for the next century, the Mission's Equivalency Books will remain relevant. One is here talking about those people inhabiting the margins and being left behind in the accelerated movement of social progress ushered in by information technology. They are the people the Continuing Education Project caters for. Though any member of the society desiring to be further educated is a potential target of the Project, the socially, economically and educationally backward are given priority over the more fortunate members of the society. It would be a long time when the forces of social reform raise them to the level of the privileged classes of today. They do not know not only how to access information but also what information they need. Yet the Literacy Mission feels that they can be taught both and finally be introduced to the nuances of information technology. The humble efforts of the Kerala State Literacy Mission, to encourage the encounter between such people and information of all kinds by means of the publication of its Equivalency books, may be a drop in the ocean, but still a decisive step in this direction.
The large number of neo-literate books produced during the Total Literacy and Post-Literacy periods are still in circulation catering to the educational needs of those who have just reached the neo-literate level. More of such books are still being published by the State Literacy Mission with the help of the State Resource Centre.
But a more innovative project which the Kerala State Literacy Mission can justly be proud of, is the publication of specialised books for those who have progressed and are progressively moving, beyond the neo-literate level. It fills a gap and thereby meets a need, that of the beneficiaries of the Continuing Education Project who find no reading material as they reach higher levels of reading ability with the progress of the project. It further gives them through letters and numbers, information which enhances the quality of their life, while respecting their varied social experience.
Such books are the result also of the realisation that literacy cannot be retained or upgraded unless constantly related to life and its probelms. Use of literacy in solving socio-economic problems is a natural safeguard against relapse into illiteracy, a common misfortune faced by those who forget follow up programmes while basking in the glory of a nation or state becoming highly literate. Statistics in this regard can turn out to be transient. A second service done by the Equivalency books is hence the retention of literacy once achieved.
The consciousness that these books deal with a mindset, not dealt with yet by writers, has made the State Literacy Mission go into the task very seriously. The fact that they should be exclusive and are unlike any book available in the market has made the editors give detailed personal attention to every aspect of it from the planning stage to the final product.
Often a synopsis or suggestive or probing questions are handed out to the authors in addition to other helpful material printed or otherwise. The draft undergoes thorough examination followed by further suggestions for changes and additions before the final product goes to the press.
More than half of the books already published are prepared by the Kerala State Literacy Mission while the rest have been published with the help of Non-Governmental Organisations with the permission of the Executive Committee. Those books have also undergone strict scrutiny by experts.
A lot of attention has gone into the design and colours of the cover so that the books are found tempting to an otherwise nonreader. Saksharatha Mission feels that making the potential reader handle such a book or turn its pages just 'to have a look' itself is a good start.
The layout, the size of the fond, the spacing, the quantity of the material and the quality of the argument are all designed to arouse the reader's curiosity and later to make reading a pleasurable experience for him.
Further the books provide a monument to the variety that is the spice of life. Literacy should develop into something which encourages and enhances the problem solving capacity of the individual in whatever field his mind finds application. The number of such areas is innumerable. Literacy Mission, hence finds that there is no end to the number of topics on which such books could be written. The first of its kind 'The Mason' authored by Sri. M. Parameswarn Nair, appeared in March '99. The 100th book entitled The Fight Against Aids was released on 18, April 2000 by Sri. M. Vijayakumar, Speaker of the Kerala Assembly during the 9th anniversary celebrations of the declaration of total literacy in Kerala.
Among the 100 books published within one year, there are books supporting
all the four categories of activities identified by the National Literacy
Mission as belonging under the Continuing Education Project.
Income Generating Programmes
Books under this category are the most in demand. They are designed to teach new skills as well as to give additional information about skills which are already being practised. The agricultural sector is well represented. Books on cultivation of Paddy, Pepper, forest trees, mushroom, decorative plants medicinal plants, vegetables, flowering plants are complemented by books on rearing of cows, goats, pigs, dogs, rabbits, bees, crabs, prawns, fresh water fish, kada etc. Other skills are described in books on rubber tapping, wormi compost, Cane furniture making, Agarnathi making, umbrella making, toy making, flowerpot making, bathik, diamond cutting, home nursing, photography and videography. In addition, masonry and related skills are described in books on concrete block making, cement mixed earthen block making, tile making, mosaic etc. Similarly, cooking of varieties of foods like sweets, jam, jelly, squash and stitching and embroidery, dressmaking and handicrafts are also dealt with for people of such leanings.
The above mentioned publications serve the additional purpose of being the text books for the paper 4 of our level 1 Equivalency Course which is stipulated to be a practical paper dealing with a particular skill. Supported by detailed course material they help to produce ideal courses for that paper. In their capacity, as text books, they moreover guarantee that the student is not taxed unnecessarily by the extra knowledge the resource person possessed. Such books also give the right directions to the Prerak as to the choice of the courses to be conducted within the Equivalency programme, the identification of the skill development courses locally needed and locally feasible and the right resources to be tapped.
Quality of Life Improvement Programmes
There are always questions which come up and are never answered to one's satisfaction, whether related to law, health, diseases or even everyday life. At other times it is the problem of models to be followed, values to be conscious of, and means to be identified. The gap is filled by an array of books which put together gives a good amount of information and a helping hand to use it to improve one's life. Most of the common illnesses have been touched upon, like Blood Pressure, Diaria, Jaundice, Diabetes, Asthma, Piles, Typhoid, Arthritis, Cardiac Problems, and Job related diseases as well as systems of medicines or curative practices like Yogasanas, homeopathy, ayurveda, first aid etc. A man's Personal needs like how to build a low budget home, the way to learn the basics of the Computer, Spoken English, Spoken Hindi, how to handle electricity, what is good Malayalam, what is insurance etc. are also met by books dealing with such subjects. The right political perspective is provided by books such as Gadhian Vision, the Welfare of a Village, Janahana Mana & Vandematharam, Nehru & Patel, and Our Constitution while civic sense is guided by books on crime & punishment, crime in children, legal protection for women, consumer's rights, fundamental rights etc. The right awareness about the wrong things are given through books dealing with the danger of smoking, the need for protecting ponds, the need for controlling the use of pesticides and the use of natural fertilisers as against artificial ones and hormones in agriculture.
Individual Interest Programmes
The books are on the whole marked by certain common features. The simplicity of the vocabulary and the clarity of the argument, demanded by the target group's unseen presence seem to have been the source of their greatest attraction. The number of buyers outside the target group has been a constant source of surprise for the State Literacy Mission.
The coropus has an unshakable value base. All the products and methods adopted are environment friendly. No exploitation of natural resources is permitted by word or deed or even in spirit. For example, the traditional use of the top earth (clay) for making baked bricks leads to the loss of the agricultural capability of the land under exploitation . Concrete blocks and cement mixed earthen blocks described in books with those titles are environment friendly substitutes for the traditional bricks. The books on wormi compost sends out a message about the need to reduce the use of artificial manure.
Another insistence is on the expertise of the authors of these books. Every author is an authority on the subject he/she deals with. Smt. Sreelekha, Superintendent, CBI, who is the author of the book Legal Protection for Women IPS officer of Kerala. Traditional medicine's advantages are highlighted by Dr. Sankarankutty, a well known physician and professor at the Ayurveda College in Trivandrem while Mr. Sanathanan, the former principle of the college of Fine Arts is the author of the book on painting. Same is the case with the books on subjects related to the agricultural sector, medicine etc.
The books try to be of maximum practical use, straightforward, and with the least vagueness. The most important feature of these books is the variety of the subject matter. "Beyond Letters" and "Forward from Literacy" are the new slogans of the Kerala State Literacy Mission and these have been kept in view in the preperation of these books. Village Welfare is a book which acquaints the common man with the possible projects which could be adopted in developing a village while 'Small Industries' gives enough information to a novice about the possible choices, where to get funding and how to bring it up to be a profit making concermn.
This is also the fitting occasion to record the fact that it is the wonderful
effort and vision of the Chief Editor Sri. M.G. Sasibhooshan and the Assistant
Editor Dr. Madhu Vasudevan of the Kerala State Literacy Mission helped by
guest experts, which have created this large body of literature. There are
many more books to come and many more hearts to be conquered and converted
by the Continuing Education Project to join its unrelenting efforts to make
Kerala a model without a parallel in literacy rate and the right use of the
right use of the right information.
Some of the books Published by Kerala State Literacy Mission
Making of Concrete Blocks
Cement MIxed Earthen Blocks
Low cost House Building
Baby & Child Care
The Danger of Smoking
Arthritis & Its Cure
For Successful Living
Diseases - Questions & Answers
The Basic of Life Insurance
Cane Furniture Making
Rosewater & Agarbathi
Small Scale Industries
Training In Football
You can make Toys
Stitching and Embroidery
Photography & Videography
Decorative Fish Culture
Jam, Jelly, Juice, Squash-Making
The Computer Tells Its Story
Cattle Farming for Income
The Boat of Letters
The Rest on the Silver Screen
Jana Gana Mana & Vandematharam
Spoken English - Part 1
Spoken English - Part 2
Forest Trees - Cultivation and Rearing
Nehru & Patel
A letter for Grandmother
The Letter lamp
Electricity & the Housewife
The Universal Man
For the paddy Farmers
Training in Rubber Tapping
Pepper Cultivation in your Compound
Cultivation of Fresh Water
Fish And Prawns
Use of Synthetic Fertilisers and
Hormones in Agriculture
Legal Protection for Women
Criminal Leanings in Children & Illiteracy
Crime & Punishment
Our Fundamental Rights