After defeating her rivals with swift punches at the recently concluded London Olympics, boxer Mary Kom will now urge Uttar Pradesh (UP) women to box out illiteracy. The Olympic bronze medal winning boxer has been roped in by the department of school education and literacy (DSEL) for the launch of an integrated mass awareness literacy campaign in Uttar Pradesh. Kom would arrive in Lucknow on September 9.
As per the 2011 census, the female literacy rate (59.26%) in UP is nearly 20% less than the male literacy rate.
Mary wouldn't be the only one promoting the cause. For three days, beginning September 7, prominent personalities would get together for the launch of Saakshar Bharat Mahotsav to build awareness for the newly designed adult education programme in UP. These include vice-president Hamid Ansari, governor BL Joshi, UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, union HRD minister Kapil Sibal and Akhilesh's wife and member of parliament Dimple Yadav among others.
The festival is an integral component of the recently launched Saakshar Bharat Abhiyan, an integrated mass awareness campaign that would be backed by an intensive publicity campaign, which would include mobile ring tones along with documentaries carrying appeals by celebrities like Shahrukh Khan on the importance of being literate.
Such initiatives would focus around districts like Shravasti, Bahraich, Balrampur, Badaun, Rampur, Gonda, Siddharthanagar and Moradabad where literacy levels are alarmingly low. UP's basic education minister Ram Gobind Chaudhary said folksinger Malini Awasthi has been tasked with the responsibility of making women aware of the need to be literate and transform adult education into a societal mission.
Sunil Kumar, principal secretary, basic education, and Jagmohan Singh Raju, joint secretary and director general, National Literacy Mission Authority (NLMA), MHRD also briefed about the literacy campaign.