Schools in Uttar Pradesh district start literacy movement

November 21st, 2008 - 1:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, Nov 21 (IANS) Nearly 300 schools in an Uttar Pradesh district have initiated a new literacy movement under which the students will have to teach at least one illiterate as a part of their syllabus.The campaign “Ek chatra ek nirakshar” (One student for every illiterate) is a brainchild of education department authorities in Uttar Pradesh’s Bareilly district, where 300-odd schools, both government-run and private, are located.

According to officials, the campaign has been included in the syllabi of students of class 9 to 12. In order to ensure proper participation of students, the authorities have decided to allot marks to students involved in the campaign.

“This move has been taken to create a sense of healthy competition amongst the students, who will strive to score better in their annual progress report cards,” Bareilly District Inspector of Schools (DIOS) Rakesh Kumar told IANS.

Although the campaign has been initiated on an experimental basis, it will be launched in a full-fledged manner from the next academic session, officials said.

Nearly 100,000 students are involved in the campaign that aims to cover over 200,000 illiterates across Bareilly district, some 250 km from Lucknow, according to officials.

“NGOs, officials of the district literacy committee and other departments are helping us in locating the illiterates and will also assist us giving marks to students after conducting a field survey, taking feedback from the locals taught by the students,” Kumar said.

Under the campaign, students of class 9-12 will teach the illiterates at least twice a fortnight, officials said.

The central and the state governments have lauded the initiative undertaken by the schools in Bareilly.

“When we informed the officials of the human resources development (HRD) ministry, seeking their suggestions to strengthen the campaign, they said the movement was the best way to spread literacy across the country,” Kumar said.

A proposal to include the campaign in the syllabus of Uttar Pradesh board has also been forwarded to the state education authorities.

“Undoubtedly it is a novel way to weed out illiteracy that hampers development of a nation,” said Uttar Pradesh board secretary Prabha Tripathi.

“We are contemplating how the campaign can be launched in others schools of the state,” she added.

The literacy rate in Uttar Pradesh, 57.36 percent, is below the national average of 65.4 percent, according to the 2001 census.

Eight states - Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka and Maharashtra - had more than 15 million illiterates each and accounted for 69.7 percent of the illiterate population of the country, the census had reported.

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