National Literacy Mission (NLM) & Total Literacy Campaign (TLC)

How the National Literacy Mission and Total Literacy Campaign are Transforming India

National Literacy Mission (NLM) & Total literacy campaign (TLC)

India is a country of diversity, with a rich and varied heritage, culture, and language. However, it also faces the challenge of illiteracy, which affects millions of people, especially in rural and marginalized areas. Illiteracy not only limits the opportunities and potential of individuals, but also hampers the social and economic development of the nation.

National Literacy Mission:

The Government of India launched the National Literacy Mission (NLM) in 1988, with the aim of achieving a 100% literate India by 2025. The NLM is a comprehensive and integrated program that focuses on imparting functional literacy to adults and adolescents, who have missed the opportunity of formal education. The NLM also seeks to create a culture of learning and lifelong education, by providing opportunities for continuing education, skill development, and vocational training.

Total Literacy Campaign:

One of the key components of the NLM is the Total Literacy Campaign (TLC), which is a mass mobilization and participatory approach to eradicate illiteracy at the district level. The TLC involves the active involvement of local governments, NGOs, educational institutions, media, and volunteers, who work together to create awareness, motivate, and educate the illiterate population. The TLC adopts a learner-centered and context-specific methodology, using local languages, materials, and resources. The TLC also integrates literacy with other developmental issues, such as health, environment, gender, and human rights.

Three P's of   National Literacy Mission (NLM) & Total literacy campaign (TLC):

The NLM and TLC are based on the three P's of literacy: People, Participation, and Partnership. These are the guiding principles that shape the vision and mission of these initiatives.


The NLM and TLC recognize that the people are the agents of change, and that literacy is a means of empowerment. By providing literacy to the people, especially the disadvantaged and marginalized sections of society, the NLM and TLC enable them to access information, knowledge, and opportunities, and to participate in the democratic and developmental processes of the nation. Literacy also enhances the self-esteem, confidence, and dignity of the people, and enables them to assert their rights and responsibilities.


The NLM and TLC rely on the active participation of the people, both as learners and as educators. The NLM and TLC encourage the people to take ownership of the literacy programs, and to contribute their time, skills, and resources. The NLM and TLC also foster a spirit of collective action and social responsibility, by creating platforms for dialogue, discussion, and decision-making among the stakeholders. The NLM and TLC also promote a culture of learning and education, by creating a conducive and supportive environment for the people to pursue their interests and aspirations.


The NLM and TLC forge partnerships with various governmental and non-governmental agencies, who share the common goal of literacy and education. The NLM and TLC leverage the expertise, experience, and resources of these partners, and coordinate and collaborate with them to ensure the quality, efficiency, and sustainability of the literacy programs. The NLM and TLC also seek to create synergies and linkages between the literacy programs and other developmental schemes and initiatives, to maximize the impact and outcomes of the literacy efforts.

Challenges and Triumphs

The NLM and TLC have faced several challenges in their journey towards total literacy, such as the vast and diverse population, the socio-cultural and linguistic diversity, the low enrolment and retention rates, the lack of infrastructure and resources, the gender and caste disparities, and the resistance and apathy of some sections of society. However, the NLM and TLC have also overcome these challenges, and have achieved remarkable results and successes. According to the 2011 census, the literacy rate of India has increased from 64.8% in 2001 to 74.04% in 2011, with significant improvement in the literacy rates of women, SCs, STs, and rural areas. The NLM and TLC have also received national and international recognition and awards, such as the UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize, the UNESCO Confucius Prize for Literacy, and the UNESCO Literacy Award.

Athar Maqsood

Woking as an Author and Writer since 2020.
Education :
Bachelor in Political Science and Economics. Diploma in Computer Science, Tally, and Typing.

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