The literacy rate in the country has risen to nearly 73 percent, said Primary and Mass Education Minister Mostafizur Rahman yesterday.
Citing data from the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, he said the country has achieved the literacy rate of 72.9, owing to the government's relentless efforts.
The rate was 72.3 percent the previous year, he said at a press conference organised at his ministry office marking International Literacy Day 2018 to be observed on September 8. The theme of this year's day is “Create a skilled life through literacy”.
The Awami League-led government in its electoral manifesto in 2008 promised to ensure 100 percent literacy by 2014. After assuming office in 2009, it incorporated the issue in the National Education Policy 2010 and the Sixth Five-Year Plan.
But the government could not fulfil its pledge, even by the end of its second term.
Asked about the reason, Mostafizur Rahman said, “We have been trying. Whatever success we get, we have informed those. No research was done on the failure.”
He, however, said the activities of Bureau of Non-Formal Education came to a complete halt at one stage, creating a gap.
But soon after assuming office, he said, the government took up a Tk 452-crore project for this non-formal education sector.
“The government will continue its work as long as a single person remains illiterate,” the minister asserted.
Asked about the much-hyped elevation of primary education level up to eighth grade from the existing fifth grade not being implemented, he said there were some dillydally on their part over the issue.
“Yes, it could not be implemented yet. But a process is going on,” Mostafizur said.
He said his ministry opened sixth, seventh and eighth grades in 700 primary schools. Once the education ministry hands over the rest of the schools, they will start the classes in those schools as well.
“There has been some delay in the process. Some scrutiny is undergoing and once it is done, we will implement it,” he said.
Elevation of primary level up to eighth grade is one of the major policy decisions. The National Education Policy-2010, adopted by the government, announced to ensure the upgrading of primary level by this year.
Even the education ministry at a meeting last year had announced the decision of elevating the primary education level up to eighth grade and officially shifted the responsibility for sixth to eighth grades to the primary and mass education ministry.
But it could not take place due mainly to bureaucratic red tape and lack of coordination between the ministries of education, and primary and mass education, said sources.
Asked about the fate of primary education completion examination, he said the examination will continue as long as the government wants it to.