CHENNAI: In a move to educate children and create awareness among them about quality education in Tamil Nadu, AID India — a non-profit organization has launched Ennum Ezhuthum, an education campaign for children living in rural areas this summer. The campaign will be coordinated by college volunteers from teacher training, polytechnic and arts colleges, local Rotaract, Lions and youth clubs, tuition centers, matriculation school teachers and NGOs.
The campaign, which will run for 45 days this summer, will reach out to more than 5 lakh children in 10,000 villages. During the campaign, the children will be sensitised on the importance of quality education and will also be imparted basic skills. Around 2,500 village teachers, most of whom are women, will be teaching these children. “We will begin with an initial assessment and conclude with a large village-level event where children are awarded certificates on achieving the skills,” said V Vasanthi Devi, Chairman, AID India, speaking on the sidelines of an event where Eureka awards were given away to the teachers who had worked with the organisation. She pointed out that while more than 99 per cent of the children are enrolled in schools, the quality of education they receive is poor and that reports such as Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) show that even after five years of school, 50 per cent of the children are unable to read in their mother tongue. “Our main goal is to reach out to children everywhere, including those on the street. India’s Human Development Index stood at 130 among 184 countries. One of the reasons for this is the failure of the education system. India is among the countries in which allocation of funds towards the education sector is poor,” she added.
Echoing her views, S S Rajagopalan, an educationist, mentioned the shortcomings of Right to Education Act. “It failed to achieve 100 per cent enrollment even years after coming into effect,” he said. He also spoke about commercialisation of education that leads to difference in the facilities the students receive. “I visited a school in Mumbai which can put multi-storeyed hotels to shame, with their marbled floors and centralised air-conditioning. On the other hand, I met teachers who were not paid for months together,” he said. “We will be able to bridge the gap once we realise that education is for all and not a certain layer of the society,” added Vasanthi.