What is the National Literacy Mission Programme?

What is the National Literacy Mission Programme

National Literacy Mission (NLM) was set up by the government of India on 5th May 1988 with an aim to remove illiteracy in the country by providing functional literacy to non-literates. Thus, National Literacy Mission (NLM) was established not only to make everybody just self-reliant in three R’s- reading, writing, and arithmetic but also to make them aware of the development issues affecting the society. The target group of NLM is people between the age of 15 and 35. National Literate Mission works under the steps of National Literacy Mission Authority, an independent wing of Ministry of Human Resources and Development.

The National Literacy Mission (NLM) has two flagship programmes

Firstly, Total literacy programmes secondly, Post-literacy Programme through which it gives shape to its aims. But with the revitalization of National Literacy Mission Programme on 30th September 1999, both the campaigns have come under one single project: ‘Literacy Campaigns an Operation Restoration’.

The NLM initiated its first successful literacy campaign in Kottayam city of Kerala followed by Ernakulam district of the same state. Till November 2002, 596 districts out of the total 600 districts of the country had been covered up by the National Literacy Mission (NLM) under the total literacy campaign programme. Out of which, 191 was in the post-literacy phase and 238 in the continuing education phase.

The initiation of total literacy campaigns by the National Literacy Mission has achieved due recognition also. The UN agency-UNESCO in the year 1999 conferred upon it UNESCO Noma Literacy Prize. It also received the appreciation of the jury for the teaching-learning material produced by it and for the voice raised by it to make quality primary education in schools.


  • The goal of the National Literacy Mission is to attain full literacy, i.e., a sustainable threshold level of 75 percent by 2007.
  • The mission seeks to achieve this goal by imparting functional literacy to non-literates in the 15-35 age groups.
  • This age group has been the focus of attention because they are in the productive and reproductive period of life.
  • The total literacy campaign offers them a seconds chance, in case they missed the opportunity or were denied access to mainstream formal education has been enlarged to include people in the age group 9 to 14 years, in areas not covered by the non-formal education programme, to ensure that the benefits of TLCs are made available to out-of-school children as well.
  • Special care is taken to bring disadvantaged groups like women, scheduled castes and tribes and backward classes into the programme.


 The basic objective is to create a generation which will ensure that their children are educated, to realize the dream of Education for All. In quantitative terms, the Mission seeks to impart functional literacy to all non-literate persons in 15-35 age groups.

  • Becoming aware of the causes of deprivation and moving towards amelioration of their condition by participating in the process of development
  • Skill improvement to improve economic status and general well being.
  • Imbibing values of national integration, conservation of the environment, women’s equality and observance of small family norms etc.
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