Read India: A lesson for the young and the old
- Read India: A lesson for the young and the old
Lucknow, June 10: Surrounded by 15 children in a temple of an
underdeveloped locality, Ashish Dubey achieved a benchmark of sorts
today, when seven-year-old Aman walked in and asked: "Bhaiya, Kya
yahan school chal raha hai, main bhi aa sakta hoon?"
Ashish (23), pursuing his Masters degree in social work, had begun
teaching the underprivileged local children just few days ago. But
this was the first time a child had approached him, showing
willingness to study.
The new boy, Aman, who was carrying two buckets of water, told
Newsline: "I clean tempos and work occasionally with a tempo-driver. I
never went to a school and was attracted by the clapping of these
children. I do not know what they are doing but I wish to do it too."
Ashish is not alone in teaching children like Aman. Over 2,500
volunteers students, housewives and senior citizens have united to
supplement the education of around 45,000 children in the state
capital this summer as part of the "Read India" campaign. The campaign
is being conducted by the voluntary organisation "Pratham".
The recent Annual Status of Education Report shows only 58.5 per cent
students in Class I & II can read alphabets or words. The national
figures are 73.1 per cent. This initiative is expected to bridge the gap.
The volunteers are provided with study material and posters. They
select the area where they want to teach. Even those associated with
the organisation have been surprised by the response.
Vishal Sethi, project coordinator for "Read India" campaign told
Newsline: "The number of volunteers are increasing by the day. Last
week's figure was 2,500. We have even received calls from parents who
want to teach these children and want their own children to teach
too." In a few areas, there are entire families teaching.
As for the students, some admitted to leaving schools because the
teacher beat them up. Others, who still attend school, are unable to
read properly because they do not get personal attention from the
teacher, who has to handle five classes at a time. There were also
children who said they never went to school because no one ever asked
"I go to Government Primary School in Purania but things are different
here. It's like studying at home.
Bhaiya has made us learn numbers through a song. It's real fun and
even my two younger brothers who do not go to school have started
coming with me," said Manoj, a student of Class III at a government