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Children educate the elders in this Maoist hotbed

‘Padhna Likhna Abhiyaan’ aims 100% literacy in latehar, reports Mukesh Ranjan

Published: 20th March 2022 11:27 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th March 2022 11:27 AM   |  A+A-

Children studying in Class 8 and above are involved in educating their parents, relatives and neighbours and are given a two-day training. The classes are usually conducted in the evening. ( Photo | E

Children studying in Class 8 and above are involved in educating their parents, relatives and neighbours and are given a two-day training. The classes are usually conducted in the evening. ( Photo | E

JHARKHAND: In Jharkhand’s Latehar district, a Maoist hotbed that is also known for its natural environment, forest products and mineral deposits, a silent revolution is brewing: children are educating their families’ unlettered elders.

The district administration’s ‘Padhna Likhna Abhiyaan’ has taken into its fold 6,000 such families. Around 600 ‘Pathshala’ in a batch of 10 each Voluntary Teachers (VT) or kids drawn from their families across the district are making the impossible happen.

The results are beginning to show. Meena Devi, 34, is from Torar village under Chandwa Block. Her daughter Kiran Kumari has made her literate enough to write down her signature instead of the thumb impression. “I never went to school. I would feel ashamed when I would put my thumb impression while accepting government benefits under various schemes. I now feel empowered and self-confident that I can put down my signature on a government document,” said Meena Devi.

She, along with several other women of her family and locality, is learning to read and write, courtesy her daughter. Her daughter Kiran Kumari is equally excited. “I completed my graduation and was sitting at home. When I was informed about this programme, I decided to join it. This has given me a new direction,” said Kiran.

Karishma Kumari, a class 8 student at Turisot Middle School under Chandwa Block, too, takes classes near her house. “I really appreciate the district administration for launching this programme. It will help us in making our elders literate,” said Karishma Kumari. She says people in her village have launched a drive to achieve 100 per cent literacy in the village very soon.

As per the target fixed by the district administration, 6,000 people will be made literate by March 31. Another drive will be launched from April 1 to identify all 1,24,667 illiterates in the district by October 2, involving more children studying in schools after taking consent from their parents.

“In most places, children studying in class 8 and above are involved in educating their parents, relatives and neighbours,” said programme manager at District Literacy Mission, Sandeep Prajapati. As most of ‘pupils’ work in fields or as daily wage labourers in nearby towns or cities, these classes are conducted in the evening, he said.

“None of these VTs are being given any honorarium. They are doing it for a greater cause. These VTs are provided with two-day training,” said Prajapati. He says normally it takes about 120 hours to make an illiterate person literate, which includes basic education such as reading, writing and calculation in Hindi language. They don’t consider a person literate if one can only put his or her signature, but cannot read or write, he said.

“I talked to the villagers and children of ‘Bal Sansad’. They have agreed to make everyone literate within the next few weeks,” said the lone teacher at Turisot Middle School Vijay Kumar Paswan.

Brainchild of district Deputy Commissioner 

The ‘Padhna Likhna Abhiyaan’ is a brainchild of the Latehar Deputy Commissioner who will formally launch it on April 4. The movement has taken into its fold 6,000 families. Programme manager at District Literacy Mission, Sandeep Prajapati, says it takes about 120 hours to make an illiterate person literate, which includes basic education such as reading, writing and calculation in the Hindi language. 



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