By Kamal Sanghvi, Rotary Public Image coordinator, Zones 4 & 6A
India has the highest number of illiterate adults at 287 million, which accounts for 37% of the world’s adult illiterate population (Source – Education for All Global Monitoring Report, 2013-14: UNESCO). Rotarians in India are tackling this illiteracy problem through two programs.
The first is the “Rotary India Global Dream – Each One, Reach One, Teach One” Campaign, an initiative to educate 100,000 illiterate adults, under our Adult Literacy Program. Through the program, 60,000 school children in 17 states act as student volunteer teachers. They are currently spending 30-45 minutes per day teaching illiterate adult learners to read. To do this, they use a specially designed set of books and other teaching aids, at the low cost of USD1.50 per adult learner. The books and teaching process were initially developed by the Devi Sansthan of Lucknow (an Indian organization focused on dignity and education) in collaboration with Rotary and have been translated into all major Indian languages.
After the completion of 3 months of learning, the adult neo-literates are ready to take the government aided National Institute of Open Schooling examination, which certifies them as literates or a similar evaluation. This past August saw approximately 333 adult learners appear to take the examination in West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh, with the results expected to be shared in January 2016.
The second program is the Rotary India Literacy Mission (RILM). This program is:
- Training and recognising 5,000 outstanding teachers in primary schools.
- Establishing 10,000 E-Learning Centers in schools.
- Educating 100,000 adult non-literates.
- Sending 100,000 children back to school.
- Upgrading 1,000 elementary schools to Happy Schools to curtail student dropouts.
Adult literacy is only one component of the comprehensive program developed by RILM. This T-E-A-C-H program seeks to meet literacy and educational goals through teacher support, e-learning, child development, and happy schools.
As an RPIC and Vice-chair of the Rotary India Literacy Mission, I oversee the measures of external and internal public relations and communication channels with a view to establishing Rotary’s image in the field of literacy. I also consider and approve all the important policy matters and general guidelines relating to the programs, fundraising activities and budget.
The reasonable measure of progress of any country is the level of literacy of its citizens. If we want our children to be well educated and taken good care of, it is important that the parents or adults are educated first. Educating adults gives them the opportunity to make a mark for themselves and gives them a place of dignity in society.
For more information about Rotary India Literacy Mission, visit our website. If you have been involved in an educational and literacy project, please share below!